The whistleblower behind the HSBC scandal was given a special phone by the French secret service


Falciani EyesHervé Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower who leaked HSBC classified files to the French tax authorities triggering an international scandal, was given a cool gadget to communicate with his protectors: an ultra-thin phone that could be hidden in the pages of a book.


Back in 2008, Falciani approached the French secret service to pass on classified files from HSBC, the Swiss bank he was working for. The information contained in the files eventually proved that the bank was helping account holders across the world to dodge taxes in their home countries.

But in order to communicate with him, French spies were aware that they could not rely on normal phones, so they gave him a special one.

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Here is how Falciani himself describes it in his new book, La Cassaforte degli Evasori. (Yes, the book is in Italian, and the title in English would read: The Safebox of Tax Evaders).

It was a white emergency device, roughly as big as a credit card, thin enough to be hidden in a book, and without a keyboard. They had told me it was a "clean" phone: it left no trace and could not be intercepted. I could not use it to make call, but just ask to be called back.


That sounds familiar to this scene in The Matrix when Neo is being given a phone from Morpheus. Here is a GIF to refresh your memory:

Matrix Neo receives phone

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