Reinsalu: Unfriendly powers can certainly tap unencrypted phone calls

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Raul Mee/Government Office

There is no doubt that the secret services of states hostile to Estonia have the capability of tapping unencrypted cellphone conversations made inside Estonia, outgoing Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

Reinsalu added that he is mindful of this vulnerability when making phone calls.

"The question about this, do countries hostile to us have the capability of eavesdropping, if we are talking about conversations taking place within Estonia's territory, the honest answer is: Of course this capability exists," Reinsalu told ERR's Raadio 2 morning show "Hommik!".

"This is what I take into account in my phone conversations, and with sensitive information via other channels," he went on.

"Inevitably, the lion's share of conversations are made on landlines, but both with my colleagues and in other contexts, I take into consideration that this can be done on paper."

Reinsalu noted that the Estonian state also possesses communication tools which cannot be intercepted, meaning sensitive conversations are held via these channels.

With reference to recent reports of a U.S. intelligence leak which revealed not only the situation with Russia's war effort in its invasion of Ukraine, but also that the U.S. conducts espionage and intelligence gathering with respect to friendly nations too, Reinsalu said that no state publicly comments on its intelligence information, to its partners or anyone else.

"However, if we can speak frankly: We have a clear image of the U.S. as the leader of the free world, a country which has a nuclear arsenal at its disposal, aimed at guaranteeing our entire security, but at the same time that they do not collect information comprehensively- to think so would be naive," he added.

With reference to President of France Emmanuel Macron and his recent comments, following an official trip to the People's Republic of China, in which he sought to distance himself from conflict between the PRC and the Republic of China, ie. Taiwan, Macron said: "Macron certainly does not speak for all of Europe," calling the French president's thinking "strange," given the U.S. fully backs Taiwan in the situation.

"It is unreasonable to send a signal which distances ourselves from the U.S.," he went on.

Other topics covered on "Hommik!" included the incoming Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition's tax plans, which Reinsalu criticized.

Reinsalu's party, Isamaa, was in office with Reform and the Social Democrats (SDE), from July last year until this week. It will now be in opposition.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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