HOT accuses Bezeq Int'l of industrial espionage

HOT says rival attempting to take control of the Internet service industry.

hot cable logo 88 (photo credit: )
hot cable logo 88
(photo credit: )
In the latest round in the struggle to corner the Israeli telecommunications market, Hot has accused rival Bezeq International of engaging in corporate espionage as part of an attempt to take control of the Internet service industry. HOT's legal representatives, the law firm of Barkman, Wexler, Bloom, Gazit and Shoth, on Wednesday filed a suit against the Internet subsidiary of Bezeq Ltd. in the Tel Aviv District Court, claiming that Bezeq International has violated Hot's rights and the rights of its customers, as well as harming fair competition among Internet providers. HOT spokesmen said that in recent months the company has received a number of complaints from workers who claimed to have been contacted by Bezeq International representatives offering money and perks in exchange for handing over information about new customers who had been connected to Internet services, as well as about veteran customers. Hot said that in the past it had submitted a number of complaints with the police regarding the alleged attempts at corporate espionage. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, HOT went ahead and submitted the suit against its rival to attempt to force it to stop "their apparent attempts to entice employees." HOT spokesmen claimed that several months ago the company's CEO David Kaminitz turned Bezeq International Chief Avi Gabbai in the hopes that he would probe the matter. According to Hot, however, Gabbai "chose to ignore the overture." In the suit, HOT's attorneys detailed a number of incidents, termed as "serious" by the company, which allegedly point at a systemic policy enacted by Bezeq International or its agents. HOT claims to have carried out an undercover probe, prior to filing the suit, during which it said Bezeq International employees were filmed and recorded in the act of attempting to entice HOT workers. HOT is also claiming that Bezeq International planted a "human Trojan Horse" among employees. According to Hot representatives, the alleged spy raised suspicions when he was filmed by company security cameras copying customer files from HOT's computer networks and sending them via e-mail. They allege that after checking his phone records, HOT discovered that a number of calls were made from his work station to Bezeq International and its operators. Hot representatives were unclear Thursday as to what Bezeq International allegedly planned to do with the information garnered. Bezeq International did not respond to the allegations. HOT and Bezeq have been slowly moving in on each other's markets in recent years. HOT began a popular service operating telephone lines - previously Bezeq's area of specialization - and Bezeq joined up with HOT's rival YES satellite to provide television packages.