OPINION

The unsaid truths about tapping

Even the most naive citizen has more than a vague inkling that the confidentiality of our telephone conversations, particularly on mobiles, is anything but guaranteed. And one of the chief reasons for this is that the rate of technological innovation is being mirrored by parasitical imitation. If you have a secret to tell a friend, generally you would not do so over the telephone. Similarly, the common mortal who is having an extramarital affair will generally take precautions not to be caught out, often avoiding making plans over the phone. So, if you are a prime minister, minister or other high-ranking state functionary, it goes without saying that you are aware that you are a likely target, not just by common «tappers,» but by extremely powerful secret services. In such cases, it would be foolish to discuss state secrets during mobile phone conversations. I have resorted to levity to counterbalance the dramatic tone that was struck last week following the revelation of the phone-tapping scandal. One would not imagine a prime minister and his aides to be so naive as to exchange confidential information about foreign policy, national defense and state security on their mobiles. Perhaps this is why none of the reporters attending last week’s solemn press briefing asked any of the three presiding ministers the most obvious question: «Did you, at least, watch what you said during your mobile phone conversations?»