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One hour with mobiles switched off

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, March 24
Can you imagine your day with a mobile phone switched off for at least an hour? If “no” you should try once a week on Fridays from 1 to 2 pm.

The campaign It Concerns You initiated a rally, named One Hour without Hearings, which is against the secret surveillance via mobile phones.

From Friday, March 21, representatives of civil society encouraged citizens to express their protest against illegal phone tapping until the relevant legislative changes on the issue are addressed in the parliament.

The head of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), Keti Khutsishvili, said that this is just another way for NGOs to show the government that they are against illegal tapping.

Lawyer of Transparency International Georgia, Gia Gvalava, also joined the rally on behalf of his organization.

“We turned off our cell phones insisting on changes in the system,” he said, stressing that the new government should not be repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. “Listening to peoples’ personal conversations is against the law,” Gvalava stated.

Acting Director of New Generation – New Initiative, Keti Chachava, said Georgians should live in a country where the rights of people are protected; the principles used by the investigative bodies will be clear to everyone and where personal information is highly protected.

Georgian Dream MP Tamar Kordzaia responded to the NGOs stating that the parliament is already working on this issue.

Under the leadership of the previous government, special black boxes were installed at the headquarters of the mobile operators that enabled the Interior Minister of Georgia to eavesdrop on thousands of people.

After the Georgian Dream coalition came to power, thousands of such illegal recordings and videos have been destroyed. However, the black boxes still remain at the offices. However, Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze stated that the listening to others’ conversations is only used in legal frames.

Earlier this month the organizers of the It Concerns You campaign demanded creating a legal base against the action and systemic guarantees.