Operation the wire: who and how to control phone conversations of Ukrainians

The objects of illegal wiretapping in Ukraine became a famous person. Some cases have received publicity and led to high-profile scandals about some tried not to spread. Today the topic is as relevant today as in the past. We figured out who to listen to now and how to protect yourself.

By law, wiretapping engaged in the security Service. With the advent of the new Ukraine law enforcement agencies has the problem of granting the same rights to them. A year ago, the head of the Specialized anti-corruption prosecutors Nazar Golodnitsky asked Parliament to allow the detectives NAB to wiretap independently from the SBU. For the year, everything remains as it was. But recently he Holodnitsky did not rule out that it can listen to law enforcement, in connection with which his office regularly checks security.


We interviewed a dozen well-known in Ukraine people about their experiences whether they are tapping what people think about her and you know the ways to protect yourself from prying ears.

— Listened and watched me when he was the public Prosecutor Victor Shokin without the permission of the court, — says ex-Deputy General Vitaliy KASKO. — It lasted throughout the year — recorded, watched, but never been able to dig up, no show. For such actions must come responsibility. The crime report I have filed. The court ordered to amend the register, but investigators do not. You need to put someone to jail for illegal interference in private life, then the situation will change… And the best defense is not to do anything illegal, and not have to hide their conversations.


The facts of illegal wiretapping during his service in the Ministry of interior has repeatedly said the former first Deputy interior Minister Mikhail Korniyenko:

— I listened many times. And also illegal. Once this was done the KGB, then — SBU. Of course, I always listen to someone is difficult, if not impossible. But periodically, selectively, such a control is conducted. The employees of the intelligence agencies told about it.
The General went abroad, studied the experience of Western police and says that listening practice exists everywhere. But the performance of it is very different.

— The interior Ministry has annually had up to 4-5 thousand permits for the use of covert methods of operational work, and the status of the evidence of the wiretaps had somewhere just five per cent of such cases. That is, the output is minimal. Zilch! And spent a lot… Actually, be afraid of a normal person is nothing. Some complain of being overheard. Always ask why they care. In the gang? Trade secrets? Then how do these fears?


— I once applied for legal aid, the acting operations officer of the SBU, says the head of the International League for the rights of citizens of Ukraine Eduard Bagirov. — It wanted to fire and to bring to justice for what he, at the request of his friend — a physician — was tapping. That someone had to return a certain amount of money, but did not return. And he asked the employee to record the conversation. So when it came to leadership, the Opera has threatened punishment for the use of technology not for its intended purpose… But once I got involved in this case, it’s gone. He hinted: help — I’ll leave it alone. He was gone… But after a while I confided that the wire supplied for my phone…

In the fact, according to Bagirov, nothing wrong with that — no conspiracy or other criminal plans he has. And yet unpleasant:

— Who cares what we say with my daughter, wife, mother? It’s the invasion of privacy, violation of human rights, in the end. Nobody has the right without sufficient bases to invade privacy. Law enforcement and security structures should be put in such frames that the wiretap was conducted solely by law and only in the framework of criminal proceedings. If you’re doing it for selfish purposes, in order for the money — that in a democratic state is unthinkable. And should not be allowed to wiretap conducted by private detectives and agencies where there are former police officers, the police and intelligence services.


Had to deal with the removal of information also lawyer Nicholas Nedilko.

— After our client, the author of the cassette scandal Mykola Melnychenko left Ukraine, began active surveillance of his lawyers — Paul Sychev and me. We mobile agreed to a meeting in one of the fast food outlets at the cave, but as soon as I arrived, we were waiting for the group of surveillance… We are given to understand that revealed them. A day later my car was broken wheel, but Paul’s exhaust and brakes blew out foam… And both believe it is not a coincidence…

The lawyer was seen in parallel with the wiretap intelligence agencies used other methods of operative-investigative work — external supervision, installing “beacons”, the entry to the home, raising agents…

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— There was a case when in one case with which I accompanied, consulted his friend in law enforcement. So its the next day caused the security service, which advised not to me telephone conversations and do as little as possible to communicate.

— What has changed in tapping today? continues Nedilko. Modern smart phones — a treasure trove of intelligence: you can not only monitor telephone conversations, but also view the correspondence to various instant messengers, SMS, MMS, emails, photos and videos to locate a person online in the past… this is one way to reduce the transfer of sensitive information via communication channels to a minimum… If you really really urgently needs to speak, it is better to do it with the new phone, which established a new SIM card… But the basic phones needs to be away from new, a minimum of a few kilometers, or they need to disable as the batteries. However, any technical device or software does not guarantee 100% protection…


Anonymously with “Today” agreed to meet the acting investigative judge. According to him, those who are trying to get permission to wiretap, often breaking the law.

— The first time — when you bring enough competent justification for secret information retrieval. Too lazy to gather other evidence — scribble paper that you have to put the phone on the control. Here already depends on the judge, such a request or to refuse. Second important thing — not later than 12 months against a citizen should be indicted or sent a formal notification that his conversations listened to, and no claim to it… Often “forget” to report, thereby violating human rights. B did the Ukrainians that they are a year someone listened — filled up to the courts claims… “Listener” and their ilk are afraid of such a ninth shaft…


Article 359 of the criminal code of Ukraine:

1. Illegal acquisition, sale or use of special technical means of secret obtaining of information is punished with a fine from 200 to 1000 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens (3400-17000 UAH) or the restriction or deprivation of liberty for a term up to four years.

The same actions committed repeatedly, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons — imprisonment for a term from four to seven years,

Committed by an organized criminal group or have caused substantial damage to legally protected rights, freedoms and interests of individual citizens, state, public, or interests of individual legal entities, — shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of seven to 10 years.

The law “On operative-search activity” determines that the special technical means of secret obtaining information can be applied only when the carrying out secret searches, investigative or judicial action is ineffective or impossible, and is carried out only with the permission of the court. In other cases, the use of such spetstechsteclo illegal.


Main in the past “listener” of security on logomania and slukhovoi about when someone often feared talking on the phone, and how can people protect themselves from outside interference. On the questions of “Today” answers the former chief of the Operative-technical Department of the SBU Yuri Dry.

Yuri Dry. Who listened over the years, is not recognized. Photo: press center of the SBU

Name: Yuri Nikolaevich Dry

Born: 20.03.1950 in Minsk

He graduated from Zaporozhye machine-building Institute (specialty — radio engineer) and the National Academy of the SBU (the law). In the KGB-SBU has served more than 30 years. Started as operational employee of the Department. Worked as a Deputy head of Department “K” (the fight against corruption and organized crime), six years was the head of Operative-technical Department of the security Service. Awarded the order “For courage” III degree. The General-the Lieutenant in resignation.

— Yury Nikolaevich, during the years of independence, Ukraine has been a lot of scandals over the illegal eavesdropping of communication channels, in other words, wiretapping famous figures — politicians, deputies, officials. But, in fact, none ended with a judicial verdict and a real punishment to the performers and customers. Why? Or someone still be punished, and we don’t know?

— Our service did not participate in the establishment of specific entities. At least in my tenure as head of otoo. In this area the Prosecutor’s office. She and MIA had to bring the case to court. And our staff find the systems and means for information retrieval from channels of communication. Available in SBU operational and technical capabilities allow them to identify and combat illegal activities.

MPs often complain that they are listening…

— In my personal opinion, such statements often try to raise its own rating or the rating of certain political forces, which began to forget. And then the sensation — me (us) listen to, guard, zrada and other… Regard it as a cheap PR designed to fool. The specialist will begin to figure out what a device is found, the principle of its operation, a power source, at what distance calculated signal… And it appears that, to put it mildly, not so clear.

— But you’re not going to say that all who found the traces of wiretapping, making it up?

— No. While you are at the beginning of the conversation said that not a single scandal did not end with the verdict or sentence, even probation.

— Perhaps, such cases are difficult to prove? Or are themselves victims of the wiretapping was not interested in the content of their conversations became public?

Maybe. But our function ended at obtaining and working off of operational information. Its implementation, bringing to the court — competence of other law enforcement agencies.

— What of the presidents “logomania and suhovolia” was on the wane, and when someone grew?

— With each new President talked about them more and more. Usually this was due to political considerations. They say, listen to me, because they say what we don’t like government, and it attracts a special service. But this is not so. It would be so — intelligence Agency has long ceased to exist. Believe me on word.

Evidence. A technical equipment imported into Ukraine illegally are identified and removed SBU

To the famous tape scandal no one could not think that the President’s office may be overheard, even for a long time…

— Special service to the story, as you know, had no relationship. Access to the office of the President provided by another Agency.

Yes. Office Of State Security. But after this scandal and debriefing suspicion of those who could overhear the conversations in the main office, increased?

— Power trains — of course. Were certain reinterpretation of the events and their consequences. The conclusions are made. Lesson learned.

— Today the President to eavesdrop?

Given the fact, as already said, no.

— Well, if you really want?

— If you really want… we’ve been in history. There is a certain procedure. If it is observed, nothing will happen.

— Your office, home, cell phone listening?

— Secret service is not running to be detected.

Is not necessarily might be your colleagues.

— These facts I did not discover.

Perhaps you have some particularly protected machines?

— My unit is normal. As was previously, and now.

You can listen to and not over the phone. For example, on a business trip somewhere during dinner, in the circle of colleagues and friends. Where is the guarantee that this does not happen?

— No guarantees. But every professional is well aware of that, being in places that are not secured control of the security services, he could be under a different control. At work we’ve been abroad. And we were taught how to behave, not to be, as we said, “under technique.”

Once was considered that “bugs” lurk everywhere — at work, outside, on vacation, at home… Supposedly they are not only in the handset or body of the device, but in the watch, button, cufflink, tie clip… Which know-how appeared in this particular field?

— Buttons, watch, clips, lighters leave in the past. Technical tools become even smaller, malonamate, turning pins, other small objects. But the actual food sources for these funds — they must also be relevant and designed for prolonged use. Only in the movies listen to someone for weeks without changing power sources.

— Is there an antidote to “foreign ears”? What, in short, it is at the level of the expert and the ordinary citizen?

The best way is not to talk on the phone that you shouldn’t. Rather, always know what to say. Experts understand this. Ordinary citizens also have to imagine that the main enemy — long tongue.

— How to make sure that you are listening? Are there any unmistakable signs of suspicious noises, clicks, echo, strange behavior of the tube — often runs out of power, heats up quickly?..

— When the tube resonates, it’s bad. Occurring in the communication interference, extraneous sounds may be the result of intervention by the special complexes that are not related to the secret service.

— This is possible from the control to get rid of, barenbrau room again or calling it from another camera?

— Will not help.

— What will help?

— Dial the number after some time from another distance.

— What?

— Ensure that interference is either ongoing or disappeared.

You personally had someone to listen?

And not just once. During operational activities, listened, documented, then it someone was sentenced to real terms of punishment.

— And more?

— Sorry, no details. The time has not come yet.