Feeds

Vodafone fined €76m over Greek wiretap scandal

Trojan horse

The Power of One Infographic

Greece's privacy watchdog has fined Vodafone €76m ($100m) over a wiretapping scandal that saw the illegal monitoring of the mobile calls of top government officials including Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Vodafone was ruled at fault for not preventing unknown hackers from subverting a legitimate surveillance system, supplied by Swedish firm Ericsson, to spy on Greek officials around the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics. The mobile operator said that the investigation was incomplete because officials were yet to question Ericsson. It plans to appeal the ruling.

"Vodafone announced that it fully rejects the rationale of the authority and considers the penalty illegal, unfair and totally groundless," Vodafone Greece said in a statement, AP reports. "Vodafone will seek recourse with the judiciary against the decision and is certain it will be overturned."

Investigators failed to determine who was behind phone taps targeting more than 100 Vodafone users including government ministers, military officials and journalists between around June 2004 until March 2005, when Vodafone dismantled the systems after the security breach was uncovered. Calls from and to targeted phones were relayed to 16 mobile phones using pre-paid cards, located in central Athens, thanks to unauthorised manipulation of the Ericsson-supplied surveillance software used by Vodafone Greece.

The Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy criticised Vodafone for obstructing its investigation by failing to own up about the surveillance system itself.

Greece's parliament has also launched a separate investigation into the wiretapping scandal. During a hearing earlier this year, the heads of the Greek arms of Vodafone and Ericsson pointed the finger of blame for the scandal at each other, AP adds. The parliamentary probe also looked into the death of a senior Greek Vodafone official, George Tsalikidis, who was found hanged in March, just before Vodafone briefed government officials about the role of the surveillance system in the scandal. A judicial investigation failed to uncover any link between the suspected suicide and the scandal, the FT adds. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.