Greece - December 2022
Tougher legislation on spyware approved following surveillance scandal
In a 156-142 parliamentary vote, lawmakers approved legislation that tightens wiretap rules. The new rules ban commercial spyware and reform regulations for legally-sanctioned wiretaps. Private individuals who use wiretap software will be punished for up to ten years. Under the new law, checks on legal wiretaps are tougher, and the subjects of state surveillance can be conditionally informed that they had been targeted after a three-year limit. The law comes after an ongoing surveillance scandal broke out in July, leading to the resignation of a top government aide and the country’s security chief. Since then, reports have emerged that cell phones belonging to cabinet members, Members of European Parliament (MEPs), senior officials and journalists may have been targeted by Predator spyware. The government has denied the accusations. Media Freedom Rapid Response, a Europe-wide mechanism on media freedoms, said that the legislation does not offer a solution and that the legislative process as well as the short period for public consultation were problematic. Opposition lawmakers voted against the legislation and accused the government of trying to conceal the illegal surveillance scandal.