On the Alleged Phone tapping: Some Facts at Last

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ratu Mara's Latest Accusation: The Evolution of hi...":

Croz , I am an ex telecom enginner and I can inform you that neither Telecom nor Vodafone have any capability to monitor calls . I dont know about Digicel - they might or might not, I am not sure.
This facility to monitor, record and track calls is worth few hundred thousands dollar investment and it's never been done during my stay till I took my retirement package early this year.



I also know aslam @ vodafone - he is a straight shooter and very much guided by vodafone group guidelines and I will say he is one man who follows the rules properly. At telecom we call him 'vodaman ' and you have to be complaiant to survive that place. I know that Vodafone UK personel audits its network and its operations annually and they have a very high complaince standards and audits.

On his association with tthe PM or AG, I must admit I know very little - just the AG is also the Telecommunications Minister and any interaction with members of telcos will not be irregular .

I thought I'd add some facts to this discussion.

Comments

Are You listening? said…
Croz,

You say “On the Alleged Phone tapping: Some Facts at Last”

How do you know these are facts? How do you know anonymous was ever even an engineer?

I am interested on why you judged this comment to worthy of its own posting?

I stand by what I said Vodafone Fiji just needs some software which is readily available and is installed and in use by Vodafone in many other countries in the world. As it is not bulky equipment Vodafone employees would not even have to know it was installed.
Be careful said…
Let me add we all know how sensitive government is to any 'negative' comment and there desire to catch out opponents....and hang them out to dry. Therefore while we perhaps will never know the facts it seems likely that this government could at at a min would want to have ability to tap phones and monitor the Internet.

Certainly the advise from our company (think large foreign company) security experts is 1. Be very careful what you say and 2. Be extra careful what you say over the phone.
Thor rules without the "H" said…
Bula Croz,

Fiji has one international communications gateway - FINTEL.

All you need to do is put monitoring devices there, courtesy of the Chinese or Indians.

Speaking of the latter, when there was a proliferation of anti-Bainimarama blogs in the early days after the 2006 coup, a certain India-born person who once worked at a Fiji-based tertiary institution and is now a New Zealand-based commentator, brought in IT experts from India to try and track and shut down these blogs.

Well, the person was the one going around telling people about this after quaffing one too many glasses of wine, boasting in the process about the close relationship one had with Bainimarama.

Anyway, regarding claims Vodafone is involved in monitoring calls, the company has been very careful in how it has worded its response to these allegations.

It has said it does not have the technological capabilities to allow mobile monitoring. But the technology does exist and it need not be owned by Vodafone for it to be effective.

No military personnel have entered Vodafone premises - what about employees of the revived Fiji Intelligence Service or police Special Branch?

Bainimarama once said the main threat to Fiji's security came from internal forces.

Now, what other use would you have for Fiji's extensive security networks, other than to monitor what is going on inside the country?

You are not going to get any comments from anybody about this because everyone has a vested interest.

FINTEL or Vodafone or Telecom will not admit they are involved in monitoring communications because it is unethical.

But it's not really ethics they care about, it's their business interests and the PR disaster that would create if such revelations were confirmed.

Fiji's security and intelligence agencies aren't going to admit they are spying on their own people.

And the overseas intelligence agencies who monitor what goes on in Fiji aren't going to acknowlege that they know what the Fiji government is doing.

They know what the other is doing but no one will disclose it - that's how security and intelligence agencies work.

Even in your democratic NZ, the intelligence services there were exposed a few years ago for spying on Kiwi citizens.

It's not such a stretch of the imagination that a less-democratic country like Fiji would be doing the same.
All the world's our stage said…
Croz:

October 2006

A phone call received from Europe. It authoritatively said that our calls were already intercepted.....that the Chinese were responsible and their ability was the equal of any agency. Language no obstacle. So, quit fending off. We have always known we were intercepted and not just by the Chinese.
Gutter Press said…
Crosbie

As far as tapping mobile phones goes – we only know what we read, or are told. However the ability to do so does exist. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_tapping

Two of the claims (which are referenced) are as follows:
1) Mobile phones have numerous privacy issues. Governments, law enforcement and intelligence services use mobiles to perform surveillance in the UK and the US. They possess technology to activate the microphones in cell phones remotely in order to listen to conversations that take place near to the person who holds the phone.
2) Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect location data. While the phone is turned on, the geographical location of a mobile phone can be determined easily (whether it is being used or not), using a technique known multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone.

We have all read recently of the Commerce Commission’s change to the mobile call rates. It was interesting to see reported that there is a 3 cent tax per minute on all international calls. The report noted that this tax would go towards the government’s ITC department.

It would be na├»ve to assume that some of revenue earned will not be spent on ensuring the safety of Fiji by increasing the surveillance of the state’s enemies. It is a moot point as to whether or not this is already happening, but I believe it is disingenuous for the anonymous Telecom engineer to claim that neither Vodaphone nor Telecom has the capability to carry out surveillance.
TheMax said…
Croz,

I'm currently working in one of these phone service providers and have been employed in this industry for a little more than 20 years.

No one is tapping anybody's phone and that's a bare fact. But what the service providers can do, and is always part of the phone service, is record the call details such as the CLI, CLID, time and duration, and date. The actual conversation is not recorded.

Some people are always in the knack of spreading false information by merely assuming it's being done in Fiji. The law in Fiji doesn't allow phone tapping and that's it. End of story.
Anonymous said…
Hi, just for information sake, here it is.

TFL's PSTN (landline network) - definitely yes, calls can be monitored.

TFL's PLMN (mobile network) - definitely no, no such feature yet to monitor calls.

VFL's PLMN - definitely yes. they CAN do this.

DGCEL - I don't know.

Some related info:

CDR is Call Details Records. They are pretty much standard feature hence available across all platforms and companies regardless. Because its main purpose is billing.

For internet monitoring - ISPs can do that easily or at least have a log of what pages were visited by a username which in most cases is tied to a registered user. No problem there.

SMS - both TFL/VFL have records kept for a certain number of days and they can easily be read when extracted from the system.

LI - Lawful Interception (for voice call monitoring)- is an optional feature of PLMN's which VFL uses. There system currently is based on Ericsson and they do support this. TFL's PLMN doesn't have this feature because its an option since unneeded was never implemented due to unnecessary costs. Not many understand LI. For TFL's PSTN (based on Ericsson) that's a standard feature built into the system and not an option. TFL however only provides such monitoring if warrant based. Feature access is only limited to a few on the upper managing levels there in.

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