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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 17:12 GMT
Greece phone tap leads to new law
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
Mr Karamanlis announced tough new measures for the telecoms industry
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has announced tough new rules for mobile phone operators in his country.

It follows revelations that the mobile phones of the prime minister and other high-ranking officials were tapped for more than a year.

The prime minister said the new rules would provide greater privacy in communications and harsh punishments for those caught eavesdropping.

It is not yet known who was behind the phone tapping scandal.

Tough measures

The prime minister warned that mobile phone operators could face fines of up to 2m euros ($2.4m; 1.4m) and a temporary suspension of their licence.

"(We are) preparing more effective safeguards... and harsher penalties for those who are involved in such crimes, and for those who make use of the products of these crimes," the prime minister said in a televised address.

The tapping is said to have begun before the Athens Olympics in 2004 and lasted until March last year.

It was detected by a telephone company manager dealing with customers who had reported technical problems.

About 100 mobiles belonging to politicians from both parties are thought to have been monitored.

The new rules could pose problems for Vodafone Greece, the network provider targeted in the tapping.

The British company is Greece's second-largest mobile phone provider, and has 4.4m subscribers.

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