THE disclosure by Senator Tahir Mashaddi that intelligence agencies especially the IB were tapping the phones of the people around the country brings to mind the spectre of a authoritarian state of things envisioned in the novel 1984 by George Orwell where Big Brother keeps a strict surveillance on almost all the activities of the citizens. The subsequent briefing to the Senate by the Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farooq H Naek that such tapping was still being carried out, but was directly reported to the Prime Minister, fails to allay one's fears. His explanation that it was not on a grand scale and that such an activity had been allowed in the past, particularly during the times of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is devoid of logic. Two wrongs certainly don't make a right. The very fact that such a state of affairs should continue even on the watch of a democratic dispensation is condemnable indeed. Keeping in view the role they have been playing, it would not be out of place to compare our secret services to a Frankenstein's Monster. Politicians, journalist and other important members of civil society have been the primary targets. Reportedly, in order to save its skin, the IB had burnt the record of bugging just before the new government took power as the agency had been engaged in tapping the phones of those who are now running the government. There are reports that the Musharraf government had imported sophisticated equipment for tapping phones on political opponents, journalists and people from other walks of life. The state has no right to intrude on privacy of its citizens. This practice must end. There should be a parliamentary committee to keep a check on such illegal activities of the intelligence apparatus.