SBU listening devices on all mobile operators?


Following the statement from the mobile operator Intertelecom that the Security Service [SBU] had demanded that it install an automated system for intercepting information from communication channels, an SBU officer, on condition of anonymity, spoke with a reporter from the newspaper “Segodnya”.

The officer said that Intertelecom had indeed refused to install the system, but said that it was probably the only company to have done so, and that such a system has long been functioning in other mobile communications companies.

“However the refusal is a temporary matter. All communications companies in Ukraine work on expensive equipment of which a major part was brought into the country semi-legally. Therefore immediately after Intertelecom’s refusal to work with us, a criminal investigation was initiated against them for smuggling contraband.”, the SBU officer stated.

“Everybody knows that before getting onto the communications operators market, like any other businesses, they need permits. However few are aware that this package of documents includes a document signed by the SBU management”.

“Why is this done? It’s all very simply. The operator won’t receive the Head of the SBU’s signature if they don’t agree to install the listening device. Obviously they can make a stink in the press. However the point is that such practice exists in most countries. It’s one of the means of ensuring a country’s security.”

Officially the SBU assert that they act in accordance with Article 39-4 of the Law on Telecommunications which include the obligation for the operators to purchase and install equipment for a system of eavesdropping.

Operators confirmed this to the newspaper, but said that the monitoring is carried out legally, only if the person is a figure in an investigative operation and with a court warrant.

The newspaper notes that you can make just about anybody the object of such an investigative operation and the courts normally accept the arguments presented.

From the report  published at

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