Report: Thousands of tapped Dutch conversations in the hands of Australian tech company
An Australian tech company called Appen is in possession of the private telephone conversations of thousands of Dutch, according to the Volkskrant. Telephone experts think the most likely scenario is that the conversations were tapped by British intelligence agency GCHQ. Appen is a company working on software that converts speech to text, something the GCHQ is interested in, according to the newspaper. The Dutch conversations come from 2010 and 2011. The unauthorized use of private communications was accidentally discovered by a Dutch Appen employee, who told her story to the Volkskrant. She was hired to transcribe brief audio clips, all of them short conversations between Dutch. In one of them she recognized her ex-boyfriend leaving a voice message for his new girlfriend. She told him about it and he said he never consented to share his communications. The former employee listened to thousands of Dutch audio clips. And several dozen other people were also working on the project. Telecom Expert Rene Pluijmers of the National Forensic Investigation Office, thinks the most likely scenario as that the conversations were recorded by a security service. "The British service GCHQ intercepted dozens of fiber optic cables that also come from the Netherlands and since 1981 have experience with speech recognition. They have an interest in automated identification of data and calls. They gave Appen the tapped calls in order to improve the software that can do this."