PROVISION OF REAL-TIME LAWFUL INTERCEPTION ASSISTANCE
According to Article 19(1) of the Greek Constitution, the confidentiality of communications is absolutely inviolable; however, there are conditions under which a judicial authority is not bound by such confidentiality where national security or particularly serious crimes are involved.
Law 2225/1994 was adopted on the basis of Article 19(1) of the Greek Constitution and sets out the procedure that judicial or other public authorities should follow when requesting the withdrawal of confidentiality. An application for the withdrawal of confidentiality (which would allow for the interception of individual customer communications) can only be made for reasons of national security (Article 3) or for the purposes of identifying certain criminal offences (Article 4). Withdrawal of confidentiality is also permitted in order to investigate the crimes listed in Article 253A of the Hellenic Criminal Procedure Code.
The Hellenic Authority for Communications Security and Privacy (“ADAE”) has issued guidelines on the measures that service providers, such as Vodafone, should have in place in order to ensure that confidentiality is protected during the real-time interception of communications (Decisions 52/2009 and 53/2009).
For the withdrawal of confidentiality, an order is issued by the competent judicial authority on the basis of Article 5 of Law 2225/1994. The order includes information on the public authority, public prosecutor or investigator requesting the withdrawal, the purpose of the withdrawal, the means of communication which form the object of the withdrawal and, in the case of criminal offences being investigated, the name of the person against whom the withdrawal is directed as well as his or her residential address.
Article 5(4) of Law 2225/1994 provides that an excerpt of the order, containing its operative part, is delivered to the Chairman, Board of Directors, General Manager or representative of the company concerned. According to Article 6(1) of Presidential Decree 47/2005, when a competent authority seeks the execution of an order, a service provider is obliged to activate the equipment and software required for the withdrawal of confidentiality within three hours from notification of the order, regardless of when the order was actually served and, in cases of urgency, which have to be specifically mentioned, as early as possible. Article 7(2) of Presidential Decree 47/2005 specifies that the execution of an order for the withdrawal of confidentiality is performed by the competent authority in cooperation with the service provider.
In the event of war, mobilisation due to external threats or an immediate threat to national security as well as an armed coup to overturn democracy, under Article 48 of the Greek Constitution, the Greek Parliament has the power, following the government’s recommendation, to implement special measures. It is possible that such measures could include direct access to a service provider’s network to enable interception, although this is not expressly mentioned. The validity of these measures is limited to a period 15 days; however, this term may be extended fortnightly by separate decisions of the Greek Parliament.
The decision of the Greek Parliament to adopt special measures in this situation is taken in one sitting by a threefifths majority of the total number of members. In deciding to extend their duration, a majority of members must vote in favour in one sitting.
DISCLOSURE OF COMMUNICATIONS DATA
Article 4 of Presidential Decree 47/2005 lists the specific communications data that a service provider may be required to disclose and this includes the content of customer communications and metadata, depending on the type of communication involved.
Article 5(4) of Law 2225/1994 provides that an excerpt of the order, containing its operative part, is delivered to the Chairman, Board of Directors, General Manager; or representative of the company concerned.
According to Article 7(2) of Presidential Decree 47/2005, the execution of an order for the withdrawal of confidentiality is performed by the competent authority in cooperation with the service provider.
NATIONAL SECURITY AND EMERGENCY POWERS
There are no additional powers, other than those set out above.
OVERSIGHT OF THE USE OF THESE POWERS
Following the execution of an order, one or more reports are prepared by the service provider that was involved in the withdrawal of confidentiality and these are submitted to the judicial authority that issued the order as well as to ADAE and the applicant authority (see Article 5(5) of Law 2225/1994).
Confidentiality cannot be withdrawn for a period of time that exceeds two months, unless extensions are granted by the competent judicial authorities. However, such extensions may not exceed, in total, a period of 10 months. The judicial authority that ordered the withdrawal of confidentiality may order its removal even before expiry of the time period set, if the purpose of the measure has been fulfilled or the reasons for its implementation no longer exist.
CENSORSHIP RELATED POWERS
SHUT-DOWN OF NETWORK AND SERVICES
Although the power to shut-down a network is not expressly provided for, Article 3(a) of Law 4070/2012 provides that restrictions may be imposed in the operation of a network for the purposes of safeguarding public order, security and health.
Under Article 20(9)(c) the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, upon the recommendation of the Hellenic Telecommunications & Post Commission (“EETT”), can prohibit the provision of any electronic communications service within a specific radio spectrum range, provided this is sufficiently justified by the need to ensure safety of life. Exceptionally, the Minister may extend these measures to fulfil other objectives in the public interest.
The EETT has the authority to revoke or suspend a service provider’s operating licence in Greece (known as a ‘General Licence’) where serious or repeating breaches of the telecoms law have been committed, pursuant to Article 77 of Law 4070/2012.
REGULATION ON THE USE AND ASSIGNMENT OF RIGHTS FOR THE USE OF RADIO SPECTRUM
Article 14(2) of EETT’s Regulation on the Use and Assignment of Rights for the Use of Radio Spectrum provides that an entity’s right to use radio spectrum may be suspended where this is in the public interest.
BLOCKING OF URLS & IP ADDRESSES
CONSTITUTION OF GREECE
The basic position under article 5A1 is that all persons have the right to information (and participate in the internet ‘information society’), as specified by law. Restrictions to this right may be imposed by law only insofar as they are absolutely necessary and justified for reasons of national security, combating crime or protecting rights and interests of third parties. Facilitation of access to electronically transmitted information, as well as of the production, exchange and diffusion of it, constitutes an obligation on the State, always in observance of the guarantees of Articles 9, 9A and 19.
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE 131/2003
Under Article 2 of Presidential Decree 131/2003 the State has the power to take restrictive measures with respect to information society services originating from other EU member states, where these measures are necessary for reasons relating to public order (including the protection of minors and combating incitement to hatred on the grounds mentioned below) relating to protection of public health, public security, national security and defence and relating to protection of consumer and investor.
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE 109/2010
Article 4 of Presidential Decree 109/2010 provides that the Greek National Council for Radio and Television may prohibit the retransmission, by any means, of TV programs originating from other EU member states which manifestly, seriously and gravely infringe the rules concerning the protection of minors and/or incite hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality, disability, age and sexual orientation.
Similarly, the Greek National Council for Radio and Television can take measures to restrict or prohibit the provision, by any technical means, of on-demand audio-visual media services from other EU member states, including for breach of the rules previously mentioned.
In the gaming sector, the Hellenic Gaming Commission has issued a decision pursuant to which internet service providers are prohibited from providing access, attempted by an IP address located in Greece, to websites of gaming operators who have not obtained a Greek licence, the details of which are included in a black list that is kept by the Hellenic Gaming Commission pursuant to Article 3.4 of Decision 51/3/26.04.2013.
POWER TO TAKE CONTROL OF VODAFONE’S NETWORK
Under Article 48 of the Constitution in the event of war; mobilisation due to external threats; an immediate threat to national security or an armed coup to overturn democracy, Parliament has the power, following the government’s recommendation, to implement special measures. Potentially, such measures could include taking control of Vodafone’s network, although this is not expressly mentioned. The validity of these measures is limited to a period of 15 days, although this term may be extended fortnightly by Parliament.
The decision by Parliament to adopt special measures in a national emergency must be taken in one sitting by a threefifths majority of the total number of members. In deciding whether to extend the duration of those special measures, a majority of members in Parliament must vote in favour of the extension in one sitting.
OVERSIGHT OF THE USE OF POWERS
Decisions taken by public authorities, such as EETT, are subject to judicial review by the competent administrative courts.
The measures adopted pursuant to Article 20(9)(c) of Law 4070/2012 are reviewed regularly and at least every 2 years, at which point the results of the review are published.