Greek socialist leader files complaint over attempted phone bugging

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A general view of the building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, November 24, 2021. Julien Warnand/Pool via REUTERS//File Photo

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ATHENS, July 26 (Reuters) - The leader of Greece's socialist opposition PASOK party filed a complaint with the country's top court prosecutors on Tuesday over an attempted bugging of his mobile phone with surveillance software.

The complaint comes as the European Union (EU) is beginning to follow the United States in taking a harder look at spyware merchants and the use of powerful surveillance software. read more

Nikos Androulakis, leader of Greece's third-largest political party and a member of the European parliament, was informed of the attempted bugging by a cyber security service provided by the parliament.

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"There was an attempt to bug my mobile phone with the Predator surveillance malware," he told reporters after filing the complaint with prosecutors.

"The revelation of those hiding behind such sick practices ... is not a personal issue but my democratic duty," he added.

Intellexa, which sells Predator in Greece, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In April this year a Greek prosecutor began an investigation into an allegation by a journalist that his smartphone had been infected by surveillance software in an operation by the country's intelligence service. read more

According to a report by Toronto University's Citizen Lab, which tracks the spyware industry, a message in September last year invited Androulakis to click on a link that was a bait to allow the installation of Predator. Androulakis did not respond to the invitation and so averted the bugging.

PASOK party officials say it was serious attempt to violate the privacy of telecommunications.

"Those who are after Mr. Androulakis sought not only to listen in on his calls and messages but to turn his phone into a continuous surveillance device," a PASOK official said.

Predator spyware can extract passwords, files, photos and contacts and activate a phone's camera and microphone, enabling surveillance of conversations nearby, party officials said.

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Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, Editing by William Maclean

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