Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Isolated as they are within the EU, and always playing second fiddle to Turkey in its US relations, they are the target more often than not.

Once before the Olympics (Greece paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a US military contractor that delivered nothing but junk for security equipment) and once more recently (Greece procured jetfighters from the US for a bill that was triple the original agreement) the gov't has had to ante up an immense amount to American military interests, with little to show in return.

This amounts to a tax. And we all know, that once you start to feed the beast, the beast will begin to take an interest in the source of its next meal. The real question is, didn't the Greek gov't expect this kind of eavesdropping?

Vodafone, who owns it?

by Upstate NY on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 03:49:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, who owns a multinational in this day and age?

Vodafone is nominally a UK company, but it has large interests in the US market and is quoted on the FTSE and NYSE.

I'm a bit tired, so maybe I am misreading it, but the operations seems to have been undertaken at a relatively local level. Bribing/blackmailing the 2 or 3 employees necessary to do this is within the ability of most foreign governments.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 04:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that it would take possibly more than a couple of employees. Vodafone is implying as much - although they would, wouldn't they. Apparently (and its all quite sketchy at the moment) the perpetrators used a "backdoor" that was not installed in the original system, because it wasn't part of the software Vodafone purchased (meaning that their supplier, Ericsson in this case, would have had to be involved?) The set up was impressive though, they used 14 different "transmitter" phones with card-phone numbers in disuse by the original owners, which then passed the intercepted calls on to... somewhere. All the phones were in the vicinity of the antennas shown on the map. Frankly the technical part of the story isn't quite clear... But the suicide of the Vodafone technician seems more and more suspect as the press starts asking questions. He was, it seems quite likely, part of the team that discovered the leak.

Also I can't think of many foreign governments with interests broad enough to be concerned about government figures, military officials, journalists, Arab businessmen, anarchists and human rights groups. Actually I can think of one (OK maybe two).

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 06:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I am certain that an examination of the list of those spied on can give good clues to the country behind the spying. I suspect we all suspect the same suspect, to be Rumsfeldian in phrasing.

But, I don't know if we have enough detail to say whether this is corruption of Vodafone at a low or a high level. As you say it's not a completely simple operation, but having worked in a large telco, it doesn't sound to me that hard to do either.

This is not to say that Vodafone is innocent, but just to remind us that if it is low level stuff then it can (and will) be done at any company, not just "cooperative" ones.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2006 at 07:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Top Diaries

Occasional Series