The Gaston Browne Administration has come out bashing the Public Relations Officer for the United Progressive Party for what they claim, is another attempt of creating public mischief.
This, after Senator Damani Tabor while speaking on Observer Radio described the pending 2016 Telecommunications Bill as a spy bill, adding that it gives unlimited power to spy on everyone in the country, without warrants or justification.
Tabor claimed that the Bill, should it become law, would authorize the named government officials to listen into anyone’s conversation on the telephone, and to capture anyone’s business and personal information, at will.
He further asserted that no court order was necessary in order to approve the intrusion into people’s private communications. These are all untruthful assertions.
However, in a media statement issued earlier today, the Government’s Spokesperson Lionel Hurst said his comments again expose the opposition party’s willingness to engage in public mischief and unvarnished untruthfulness.According to the release, Section 121 (2) of the draft Telecommun8ications Bill states: “Subject to the provisions of any other law a person shall not intercept communications unless by an order of the Court.” End quote.
He said the Bill makes doubly sure that the requirement of a Court Order is fully understood by repeating in Section 121 (4) (b): “The interception of communications shall be allowed if… (b) The Court has authorized the interception of communication;”end quote.
The release further read that Section 122 requires the Minister responsible for National Security, or any person—(presumably the ONDCP or the FSRC or the Police)—interested in intercepting electronic communications, to make an application for an order to the Court and that those making the application must provide evidence “which shall clearly indicate the necessity for intercepting communication.”
The Government Official said the bill is marinated in provisions that secure the protection of citizens’ privacy and the confidentiality of private telephonic and computer communications and is further intended to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda’s international obligations, as agreed-to by our adoption of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, are fulfilled.
Hurst in a previous interview with ZDK News said that it will mainly be used to pursue criminals and terrorists who wish to utilize Antigua and Barbuda’s telecommunications infrastructure to further their wicked ambitions.
The proposed 2016 Telecommunications Bill is expected to be brought back to Parliament during its next sitting.