Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Nat’l security risk? – Security Minister says illegal wiretapping equipment discovered

By Linda Straker

MINISTER for National Security told Parliament that his administration has discovered equipment which was purchased by the previous administration that has the ability to intercept communications illegally.

“We found one piece that has the ability to monitor a person’s home from as far as half a mile away. All they needed to do was zoom into the house and listen to whatever was being discussed,” Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell told the Parliament when he presented the 2013 Interception Communications Bill seeking the approval of the House of Representatives.

Grenada currently has no legislation which provides penalties for any person found with illegal interception devices or anyone who commits the act. The new bill presented provides for law enforcement officials to apply to a Court for an order whenever a person’s communications need to be intercepted.

Informing the Parliament that he is convinced that there were persons close to the previous Tillman Thomas administration who engaged in illegal interception, the Prime Minister said that his administration will not be tolerating such behaviour and any unauthorised person found with that equipment will face the consequences.

“Under this Government, that sort of behaviour will not be tolerated. Anyone who violates the rights of the people to privacy will feel the full weight of the law,” he said, while explaining that the principal aim of the Interception Bill is to prohibit unlawful interception of communications.

The Bill itself establishes a limited number of conditions in which interception is deemed lawful, that action from law enforcement can only be done by order of a Judge.

“Interception can only be done by order of the judge; this is no way in the hand of a Minister or any politician. The Minister cannot do anything but only the judge,” he said.

The legislation further explained that any interception applied for on the grounds of national security shall be accompanied by a written authorisation from the Minister for National Security.

“The judge will make that order when reasonable grounds are presented and not just any grounds but real reasonable grounds, as we have to strike the balance between secrecy and safety,” he said.

According to the law, anyone who illegally engages in intercepting communication can be fined as much as EC$250 000 or sent to jail for five years.

No comments:

Post a Comment