Today, cell service provider Vodafone has forced its clients to listen to a voice message from Prime Minister Edi Rama, giving out ‘advice’ on how to protect oneself from coronavirus, before any outgoing or incoming call to any provider.
The Prime Minister’s voice, that comes out of nowhere to replace the voice you were actually trying to hear, brings to mind the Orwellian ‘Big Brother’.
These messages appear randomly, once every few phone calls.
Rama’s message also included an attack against the press. “Protect yourself from the media” Rama warns in his advice on how to fight coronavirus.
‘It’s Edi. Please wash your hands often. Don’t leave the house just because you feel like it. Keep your windows open as much as you can. Protect yourself from the media. Don’t be afraid but be very careful. Any symptoms you have, call 127 [Albanian emergency number]. Hugs from afar.”
This is a blatant attack on the part of the Prime Minister against freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Albania.
It is also a flagrant violation of ethical codes, professional standards, and, potentially, privacy laws, on the part of Vodafone, who has collaborated with Rama in this attack against the free press.
The law on Protection of Privacy allows the disclosure of private phone numbers in preventative medical cases. However, the disclosed numbers must be used by authorized personnel from public medical institutions certified to preserve and carefully handle such data.
In this case, one might surmise that it was Vodafone who handled the data. Instead of giving the phone number list to the Prime Minister’s staff, it merely programmed Rama’s voice message to play every so often a client makes or receives a call.
Vodafone’s actions must be immediately investigated by regulatory entities.
Exit attempted to contact Vodafone but received no response. It seems that the company that considers itself a leader in Albanian telecommunication is not answering its phone.