Germany’s Deutsche Telekom is being charged with engaging in a program in which hundreds of phone calls by customers were monitored. Senior executives ordered staff to check the phone calls because Klaus Zumwinkel wanted to plug an information leak after he was charged with having channeled millions of eruos in unpaid taxes to a bank in another country. The company, which is partially owned by the German government, denied using bugging devices but admitted that it had tracked calls. The evidence of this action apparently was leaked to the press by a data company based in Berlin which was contracted to conduct the surveillance because Telekom manatgers were concerned about leaks of sensitive information to business jounalists. Apparently, the company was upset that after doing its job, no one got around to paying it for the work.
We live in times in which George Orwell’s famous story about Big Brother has moved from fiction to reality. Who knows who is listening in to conversations and who knows the reason for the surveillance. We must trust that Big Brother is only checking the bad guys, but in this case it turns out the bad guys were the good guys.