On March 20, 2023, the New York Times published an investigation alleging that former Meta (Facebook) security manager Artemis Seaford, a dual national American and Greek citizen, was the victim of surveillance by both the National Intelligence Service (EYP) and the malicious spyware Predator. The evidence in the report shows that the surveillance by both systems coincided with the time that Ms. Seaford was still working at Meta.
According to the New York Times report, the examination of Ms. Seaford’s mobile phone by the University of Toronto’s interdisciplinary Citizen Lab revealed that she had been under Predator surveillance for two months, starting in September 2021. “This does not preclude the possibility of other infections, or of an infection period extending beyond 2021-11-16,” the forensic report by Citizen Lab said.
In addition to Citizen Lab, Ms Seaford also contacted the independent Greek authority for communications privacy (ADAE) asking whether the confidentiality of her communications had been lifted. According to the New York Times, two sources confirmed that Meta’s former manager was also being monitored by the intelligence services (EYP), with the removal of her communications privacy set to begin in August 2021, just a month before she was targeted by Predator. EYP’s surveillance, which by law cannot last longer than two months, received multiple extensions in Ms Seaford’s case, extending to the summer of 2022.
The Greek government has denied the supply and use of Predator or other malware by the Greek authorities. However, it has not to date identified who is using Predator in Greece. Ms. Seaford was not the only person to be targeted simultaneously by both Predator and the intelligence services; both Nikos Androulakis and Thanasis Koukakis were also surveilled simultaneously by both systems.
This apparently widespread illegal surveillance raises questions not only about the use of malicious spy software in Greece, but also about the operation of the National Intelligence Service for which the Prime Minister is institutionally responsible, since with his decision just a few days after the victory of New Democracy in the 2019 elections (Government Gazette: Issue Α’/119/8.7.2019), Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed the service under his direct control. In fact, the use of illegal surveillance mechanisms, in violation of the Constitution, against both politicians and journalists raises an issue not only of the rule of law, but also of freedom of the press and the proper functioning of the democratic constitution.
Although Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the absolute inviolability of the confidentiality of communications, it is clear from this data that Artemis Seaford was under surveillance by both the national intelligence service and the illegal spying software Predator.
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