Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Legislative Yuan tapped by SID: Ker

UNDER FIRE:Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming apologized for ‘causing social disturbance’ by using wiretapping amid growing cross-party condemnation

By Chris Wang, Mo Yan-chih, Rich Chang, Su Yung-yao and Jack Chu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Wang confirmed yesterday that the telephone number is one of seven landlines at the Legislative Yuan and has been in use since August 2006.

According to the legislature’s secretariat, due to the large number of calls the legislature has to process, it had sought to cut down on expenses by cooperating with Chunghwa Telecom Co Ltd to bind calls to the number 0972-630-235 as well as the landline number (02)2358-5858.

The Legislative Yuan’s Dean of General Affairs Tsai Wei-min (蔡衛民) said the number is a low-cost Legislative Yuan landline, which cannot be used as personal number.

The legislature signed a contract with Chunghua Telecom in 2006 to apply for seven low-cost telephone numbers that allowed unlimited calls among 60 numbers across the legislature, Tsai said.

He said that 0972-630-235 is used in the Chunghsin Building, where lawmakers’ offices are located.

When using low-cost lines to make calls, the standard number 2358-5858 is shown as the caller ID, he said, adding that the seven numbers would not be mistaken as personal phone numbers.

According to telecommunication experts, if a wiretap was set on the main switchboard, it would be easy to listen to any extensions connected to that switch board.

There are a great number of extensions to any switchboard in a large company, and in the event that one company has 300 extensions it could apply for five landlines to avoid calls clogging up its systems, although the landlines would all be linked to one number, they added.

This would make it seem like the same number to callers, but the call is just a matter of rerouting to the switchboard and jumping between the five available lines to find the first unoccupied call slot, experts said, adding that if the switchboard itself was wiretapped, calls on all five lines could be listened to.

Conversations could be recorded and used later, the experts said.

It would not be a technical problem to have any extension within the Legislative Yuan wiretapped, they said.

Technological developments also enabled wiretaps to bypass the action of sending in an operative to the site so taps could be set up remotely from a computer.

Those familiar with wiretapping procedures said that while wiretapping a switchboard was technically feasible, the number of call records agents would have to go through would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. It would also be difficult to determine who was speaking to who when bugging a switchboard.

Bugging a switchboard might be overkill and violate the principle of proportionality, one expert said, adding that the courts would not authorize a wiretap of an entire switchboard unless it was a large case or if there was already sufficient evidence gathered.

Yesterday morning, the SID denied it has wiretap the legislature’s switchboard.

“We absolutely do not wiretap a legislature’s switchboard,” SID spokesman Yang Jung-tsung (楊榮宗) told a press conference.

Additional reporting by Liu Li-jen, Huang Tun-yen, Lin Chun-hung

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