Minister denies prison spying on inmates

Justice Minister Steffi Dracos on Wednesday refuted claims by Cyprus MEPs about intrusive surveillance practices in Nicosia’s central prison, saying they were “unfounded”.

AKEL MEP’s George Georgiou has notified the European Parliament of his purported intent to carry out surveillance in prisons using spyware to hack cell phones used on the premises.

Georgiou cites a leaked letter from the Ministry of Justice in which Dracos allegedly demanded that prison departments upgrade and use surveillance software instead of jamming communications.

The MEP accused Dracos of ordering prison upgrades. existing softwareincluding activation of automatic monitoring that records data about your phone device, SIM card, date and time of calls, and location.

Drakos replied that the issue of jamming was raised at a meeting attended by ministers, commissioners of communications, police chiefs and prison directors.

“Publications claiming that I facilitated surveillance, rather than simply disabling or tracking communications content, are completely inconsistent with reality,” Drakos said in a statement.

In her statement, the Minister of Justice claimed:

The phone’s deactivation system has been in operation since the summer of 2020, Drakos said, and authorities have been looking at ways to keep the system up to date with technological advances.

“A contract for the system upgrade has already been signed and is in the process of implementation, which is expected to be completed next month.”

According to Drakos, based on the agreement, Transport Minister Yannis Carusos recorded in a letter what functions the jamming system should have.

She claimed her actions were taken in accordance with the legal opinion of Attorney General George Savides.

Drakos stated that the determined actions require broader coordination, which is why she intends to meet with the Governor of Central Prison, Anna Aristotle.

“In view of the reservations made on behalf of the prison administration, we have sought and received the views of the Legal Department, the Personal Data Protection Commissioner and the Ministry of Communications, which is responsible for setting up the system.”

“The necessary systems will be installed and prison management will be possible. carry out effectively Laws and prison rules regarding mobile phone use in prisons. ”

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