February 22, 2013
Each year the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine’s KGB successor agency, gets court orders to tap the phones of approximately 25,000 people. The number was released by Supreme Court head Vasyl Onopenko in 2011.
This is a lot. In Australia, for example, 3,488 warrants for wire taps were issued in 2010. In the U.S. 2,732 cases were authorized by federal and state courts in 2011.
But in Ukraine, this is just the tip of the iceberg. By law, the right to gather information via phone tapping solely belongs to the SBU, and usually requires a warrant granted by a court. However, warrantless wiretapping is allowed in cases when subjects are investigated by the counter-intelligence department.