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March 23, 2023

Controversial initiative: Sebastian Ghita wants to tap prepaid cards

PM Victor Ponta supports PSD MP.

According to realitatea.net, a new controversy has flared-up in the media after Social Democrat Sebastian Ghita announced he wants to submit a legislative initiative allowing Secret Services to keep taps on prepaid phone cards.
In an interview for Hotnews, Ghita, also known for his good relationship with PM Victor Ponta and George Maior, Chief of Romanian Intelligence Service, has stated that it could be a means of preventing economic infractions and terrorism. The PSD deputy proposes that more personal information be provided when purchasing a prepaid card. So, if a judge decides to intercept the telephone number associated with the card, the Secret Services will be able to identify its owner. To possible charges of attempt at violating the citizen’s right to privacy, Ghita replies that crime should not be tolerated in the name of freedom and human rights. Furthermore, the PSD deputy is also strong supporter of implementing PRISM, a program for monitoring Internet activity, in case of suspicions of terrorism of serious economic infractions.
However, the most shocking statement came from PM Victor Ponta who has announced he supports Sebastian Ghita’s legislative initiative regarding tapping prepaid phone conversations. “Terrorists could be using prepaid cards”, Ponta explained. Moreover, the PM said that the decision to record phone conversations over prepaid cards was made by the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) in August last year, during Crin Antonescu’s term as interim president, and it was a reaction to the terrorist attack in Bulgaria. The PM also mentioned that the operation in question involves recording conversations, not intercepting them.
Ghita’s initiative could end up rekindling the internal battle within the Social Liberal Union, as Sorin Rosca Stanescu Senator of the National Liberal Party (with whom Ghita has already had a conflict at the beginning of the year – editor’s note) has categorised the Social Democrat’s proposal as “moronic”. “I don’t suspect (…) Sebastian Ghita of following the IRS’ s orders until the very end, seeing as I find it hard to believe he even knows how to write a bill of law. I do suspect him of having a deficit of intelligence; it’s as clear as day that anyone could buy prepaid cards and pass them forward. (…) I find this initiative moronic, first and foremost, before I can even start to assess whether or not it is a violation of human rights”, Rosca Stanescu stated for Realitatea TV.
Political analyst Cozmin Gusa refused to comment on Ghita’s initiative, saying that the latter “does not exist, politically speaking”. However, Gusa criticised PM Ponta’s position on the matter: “(…) What Victor Ponta said makes no sense for two reasons. Firstly, this is not a national priority at the moment, when privatisations are failing, the economy is going down, and people are unemployed as a consequence of governmental incompetence. (…) And secondly: Romania is not a country threatened by terrorism. Romania’s experience in the last few years does not justify taking such strong measures, which are only an imitation of initiatives undertaken by the United States; that is an entirely different matter. The United States is set on ruling the world,” Ghita pointed out. The analyst also emphasized that he does not want to live in a country ruled by “the second fellowship of Security”.

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