Monday, February 26, 2024

Greece denies surveillance of investigative journalist

Greece denies surveillance of investigative journalist
April 12, 2022 AFP

ATHENS (AFP) - Greece's conservative government denied any role in an alleged case of surveillance of an investigative journalist via spyware in his mobile phone.

The statement from the government came after Greek investigative website Inside Story on Monday alleged that financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis had had his phone hacked.

Their story cited a three-page report by the Canadian laboratory Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto, which has revealed several cases of this kind of espionage.

Koukakis's phone had been infected with a spyware called Predator between July 12 and September 24 last year, said the Citizen Lab report.

The malware could not only record conversations but hacked the phone's passwords, photos, internet history and contacts.

Spokesman Yannis Economou denied that the government had had any role in the affair, calling for "the competent authorities to do their job to clear up this affair and for justice to be done".

Posting on Twitter, Koukakis noted the government statement and said he was awaiting the findings of an investigation by the ADAE, the Greek body responsible for communications security and privacy.

His investigations have included series on a Greek bank, expenses claims at the migration ministry and on defence contracts.

The Global network for Independent Journalism tweeted on Monday that it was "alarmed" at reports that the Predator spyware had been used to spy on Koukakis.

"We will be demanding answers from the Greek government," it added.

This latest affair follows a row last November after the Greek left-wing daily Efsyn published internal intelligence memos on political activists -- and on one journalist.

A government minister at the time denied there was any state surveillance of journalists in Greece.

According to Citizen Lab, the Predator malware was developed by a business called Cytrox, which is based in neighbouring North Macedonia.