It seems that MobiCrap have done it again. Apart from massively overcharging their customers, and especially the international roaming ones (I’ll post comparative costs on that later), MobiCrap have allegedly been caught out providing wiretaps on their customers for the shadowy departments in the Mongolian government and legal system.
The UB Post reports on Wiretapping Charges Rock Mongolia that:
Legal enforcement agencies have been accused of listening in on telephone conversations, a totally unacceptable encroachment on the privacy of individuals guaranteed by Mongolian laws and democratic norms
Now, were there no substance to this, the story would have disappeared fairly quickly under the usual conspiracy theories. However judging from the comments from Mongolian friends it seems this is quite the talking point in Ulaanbaatar at the moment and there is widespread belief that this may well have some substance in fact.
The article in the Post goes on to list a number of companies and government departments that have been listened to. This would, of course, explain some of the weird things that used to happen when I was there (although not explain the exorbitant charges and poor service provided by MobiCom). Interestingly, Khan Bank is not mentioned amongst those listened to.
Whilst MobiCom have demanded that the allegations be withdrawn and have threatened legal action against the original publication reporting this – that would be the Niigmiin Toli (“Social Mirror”) – the list seems to still be standing.
The uproar seems to be based around the infringement of personal privacy and freedom, especially as Mongolia is a democracy. Of course, being a new democracy, Mongolia has not learned that this is normal for developed democracies – just not spoken about very often. See the article about Bush wants immunity for telcos that assisted in illegal searches.
Hmm, what was that clicking I just heard on my line?