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Greek parliament approves spy operations reforms




Greece's parliament passed a bill reforming its intelligence service (EYP). The legislation also bans the sale of spyware. This is a government attempt to reduce the effects of a phone tap scandal that remains under investigation.

This case has heightened the pressure on the conservative government, which faces elections in 2023. The case was made public by Nikos Androulakis of the socialist PASOK, Greece's third largest party. He claimed that EYP had listened to his conversations in 2021.

He had filed a complaint to the prosecutors about an attempted hacking of his phone using surveillance software.

The bill makes private use of spyware a felony and makes it a misdemeanour. It can be punished with up to 10 years imprisonment.

It also establishes an academy for counter intelligence to train EYP staff, and a unit that investigates cases of breach of duties.

Only EYP or the anti-terrorism unit may request approval from a prosecutor to monitor individuals over a range crime specified in the bill. A second prosecutor must also sign the request.

Only national security reasons can be used to monitor politicians. The speaker of the parliament must approve any such requests.


If permitted by prosecutors, the affected persons can be informed three years later about surveillance.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitchells described the bill as a "brave institution response" to a challenge beyond Greece.

After taking office in 2019, Mitsotakis brought EYP under control. He apologized to Androulakis, stating that the EYP operation was legal but was unacceptable politically.

PASOK accused government of complicity in asking the opposition to vote for the bill before the vote.

Michael Katrinis, a party representative, stated that the case was not closed and would continue to be open until the truth is known.

After Documento, a leftist newspaper, reported that more 30 people had been placed under surveillance by the state via phone malware, the government announced its intention to ban spyware sales.

The government denied any involvement in this case.

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