OPINION

Defenseless

The press conference on the telephone-tapping scandal left a bitter taste in the mouths of even the most cynical reporters. It’s hard to swallow the assertion that confidential information exchanged at the top echelons of power is at the mercy of mobile phone firms. As the public order minister admitted, the surveillance would still be continuing were it not for a tip-off from the Vodafone Greece CEO Giorgos Koronias. Neither the national intelligence service nor any other state body guarantees the privacy of communications. To be sure, the issue could not have been kept under wraps. Koronias had no other option but to notify the government. Besides, he has huge responsibilities, as the law says his company must guarantee the privacy of communications. Worse, he took the decision to deactivate the software code, thus eliminating the traces of the culprits. One is stunned at Voulgarakis’s decision to praise the CEO in public. In any other country, the company would be facing charges. Based on the government’s information, the tappings could only have been carried out by a technologically savvy intelligence service. And given the profile of the targets (senior government officials, leftists, Muslims) the list shortens. Furthermore, it’s not clear why most government officials have Vodafone accounts when Cosmote, in which the government has a stake, offers stronger privacy guarantees. Yesterday’s briefing was carefully staged so that the government would escape unscathed from the case. Besides, it could not risk the political cost of a potential leak. Most alarming, the government appears to accept with equanimity the fact that the charges were brought against «unknown persons.» Perhaps it feared that the revelation of the culprits would invite undesirable diplomatic consequences. That may also explain the stand toward Koronias.