Proximus tapped telephone conversations: matter to be revived in parliament

Proximus tapped telephone conversations: matter to be revived in parliament
Alexander De Croo and Philippe De Backer are due to be asked a number of questions on the Proximus affair.© Belga

Telephone conversations tapped by Proximus, for quality control of Internet calls, will be raised again in parliament. The announcement came yesterday. The PS deputy, Karine Lalieux, will question the Minister for Telecommunications, Alexander De Croo, as well as the Secretary of State for the Protection of Privacy, Philippe De Backer.

Karine Lalieux will specifically ask, “Will individuals affected be informed that their conversations were tapped, and will they be offered a legal remedy? What is the explanation for a public company carrying out such telephone tapping, which is clearly against the fundamental rights of our fellow citizens? What measures are being taken to ensure that Proximus and indeed all public companies will be ready, on May 25th, to meet all requirements under the new European law relating to the protection of personal data [the General Data Protection Regulations]?”

Earlier in the day, the leader of the cdH party in parliament, Catherine Fonck, had also announced her intention to question the minister on this issue believing, when writing on Twitter, that “Proximus is worse than Facebook”.

Since June 2017, Proximus has been using a call quality analytical tool to monitor conversation quality. These monitored conversations have not occurred on normal telephone lines but through the Internet network. De Tijd reports that the system operated keeps recordings for a maximum of five days.

The telecommunications operator denies tapping its customers telephone calls. It explains that a small proportion of mobile calls were carried out from mid-2017 onwards by using VoLTE (Voiceover Long Term Evolution) technology, via the Internet network. A Belga press agency spokesman explained that, during this test phase, calls were stored for a maximum period of five days. Some conversations used by Proximus were also tapped, at their request, as a means of quality check. He also explained that this test phase was completed at the beginning of February 2018.

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