What does a site with hidden records tell us?

6

According to the uploader, the files are genuine. He writes that the special services are illegally monitoring thousands of citizens in order to use their personal lives for further blackmail and intimidation.

Off site

“There is no worse and worse job than the one I spent several years in!” The title is not like that – the title is noble – the State Security Service … In fact, nothing poses a threat to our state, nothing corrupts like us! We are cancer and I am one of the metastases! ” – This is an excerpt from the text that the files have attached as a preface. .

The text and files are also “lying” on the website registered on September 12. All material was uploaded on the same day. We know nothing about the site owner. During registration, he used the services of a company that covers the details of domain clients.

Witheld is a popular service that you use if you do not want to disclose your data when registering on the site

The link to the site was sent to the media on the morning of September 13, by an anonymous mailing address. At the end of the day it was impossible to visit the website from Georgian IP addresses. However, if you use a VPN, you can log in and upload files.

[VPN (Virtual Private Network) თანამედროვე კომპიუტერული ტექნოლოგიაა, რომელიც ცვლის თქვენს IP მისამართს.]

Radio Liberty contacted the Ministry of Internal Affairs to find out whether access to the website was restricted for Georgia, but we did not receive a response.

The website is off at the time of writing. On September 14, it was switched on twice in total, also for a few minutes. The non-governmental organization IDFI does not rule out that the website may be overloaded due to heavy “traffic”.

Can’t we understand the truth again?

The prosecutor’s office has already inquired about the incident. An investigation has been launched into the “violation of the secrecy of private communications”.

The State Security Service was quick to respond to the investigation. In a statement, SUS is ready to cooperate with the investigation of the prosecutor’s office, but at the same time protects the “honor and dignity” of the agency.

“The State Security Service urges the media and political stakeholders to refrain from disseminating inaccurate and unverified information until the investigation is completed, as reproducing such information violates the dignity of individuals, security officers and the service as a whole, undermines trust in law enforcement agencies and “, – we read in the statement.

SUS has been accused of illegal surveillance several times this year. In an interview with the Main Channel in February, Ivane Gulashvili, a former employee of the SSU, stated that in 2016, in order to obtain personal information, he installed the “DarkComet” virus program on the laptop of the Muslim Sheikh of Georgia.

“It’s a normal virus… that loads on the computer and you hear, you do everything. You put the camera in such a way that a person can not understand anything “, – he said.

On August 1, Nika Gvaramia announced that SUS was collecting personal and professional accounts for Bidzina Ivanishvili personally. According to him, the director of the “Main Channel” read the authentic recordings live.

One of the recordings is a real Roma, then witnessed by the investigative journalist of “Radio Liberty”, Giorgi Mgeladze.

In the recordings released on September 13, journalists from various publications, including Radio Liberty, have already identified themselves.

Without leverage

If these records are true, are there legal ways to obtain them? Human rights activists and civil activists are skeptical. For years, they have been saying that while the Georgian Dream is in power, the special services are continuing what they are doing under Mikheil Saakashvili’s government – illegally monitoring citizens.

“The State Security Service has always been and still is one of the main centers of power in Georgia, where the mechanisms of control, intimidation, manipulation and political retribution are gathered. This is facilitated by the institutional arrangement of the SSU, which lacks accountability procedures and leads to the accumulation of excess power in the hands of one agency. “ – It is written in the statement issued by the “Center for Social Justice” on September 14.

To limit this power, to increase accountability and protect the privacy of citizens, the Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector was established, which was transformed into the Office of the State Inspector in 2019.

Speaking to RFE / RL, Guram Imnadze, a lawyer with the Social Justice Center, said the service simply did not have the leverage to stop illegal wiretapping. The activities of SUS are still almost out of control. For example, if the security stops obtaining citizens’ personal information and substantiates it with intelligence or counterintelligence activities, both the State Inspector’s Office and the court are powerless. According to him, the Parliament of Georgia also “avoids responsibility”.

“The monitoring of covert investigative activities, which is the current competence of this service, is a drop in the ocean არული covert surveillance, the installation of a camera or listening device in any space can be done so that there is no control, neither internal nor external” – Guram Imnadze said on the air of “Morning Talks”.

.