Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greek wiretaping scandal redux


/ bugging people /
IEEE Spectrum has an excellent article, written by two Greek Computer Scientists (V. Prevelakis and D. Spinellis) about last year's wiretapping scandal, a scandal about which I reported here and in the European Tribune at the time (1, 2, 3, 4, see also the relevant Wikipedia article, and former US diplomat's Brady Kiesling summary of the affair)

The article provides an astonishingly detailed investigation on the technical aspects of the wiretap, and explains the highly sophisticated methods used. This highlights the fact that the operation was surely the work of highly skilled professionals, with intimate knowledge of Vodafone's and Ericsson's systems (Prevelakis and Spinellis mention in a sidebar the various scenarios circulating). It's also a great introduction to various technical aspects of mobile telephony BTW.

I note that, while the official investigation did not uncover the culprits of the physical attack, it did fine Vodafone (for misdeeds and omissions mentioned in the IEEE Spectrum article) a quite substantial sum of 76 million Euros. Worth noting is that Vodafone, as the scandal was still under investigation, promoted Vodafone-Greece's CEO to regional director.

[Crossposted in the European Tribune]

3 comments:

Lida said...

Worth noting is that Vodafone, as the scandal was still under investigation, promoted Vodafone-Greece's CEO to regional director.

This is hardly a promotion. If you check carefully his responsibilities and to who he answers to you will see that this is more or less a silent retirement. Corporations very often choose this line of action for PR reasons.

talos said...

Yes, OK, point taken Lida. I wonder however if there ever was an internal investigation in Vodafone and what the corporate managers had to say about the whole affair.

I also note that in the Eurotrib cross-post Dr. Spinellis was kind enough to contribute his comments (and I through him I learned that we have a, limited, FOI act in Greece I never knew existed - possibly because it seems that it isn't mandatory)

Lida said...

I wonder however if there ever was an internal investigation in Vodafone and what the corporate managers had to say about the whole affair.

To be honest I don't know. But I would be surprised if they didn’t do one and if they did you can be sure it was nothing like an ΕΔΕ. Corporations are usually very thorough when something could potentially damage their relation with their investors, partners and shareholders. This scandal was very unpleasant to say the least.

FOI applies only to the public sector (see the UK FOIA) I don’t think it applies to private companies in general and certainly not to corporations. Basically if a Greek FOIA exists you would be able to request information only about the investigation done by the justice system and the regulatory authority.