State tapping up TIM the wrong way

11 Mar 2005

Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) has written to the Italian public prosecutors’ office to warn them that the government’s policy on monitoring phone calls is pushing its systems close to collapse. Phone tapping by the Italian authorities is authorised by a judge and can require monitoring of between 15 and 40 days. All of the country’s cellcos are required by law to provide the capacity to monitor 5,000 mobile users at any one time, but TIM says it is reportedly being asked to intercept as many as 7,000 calls, stretching its systems to breaking point. According to figures provided by The Max Planck Institute in Germany, Italy taps the phones of 72 people in every 100,000 of the country’s population, the highest percentage in the EU, ahead of the Netherlands (62 in 100,000) and more than double that of Switzerland (32).