Telecom tapping rules approved

Regulations allow post, e-mail intercept

Regulations approved by Cayman Islands Cabinet members will
allow “any person employed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to intercept
a message in relation to a matter or person” for the purposes of gathering
intelligence.

The interception of the message – which can include any form of
communication such as telephones, post, e-mail, text messages and the like –
must be authorised by a warrant issued directly from Cayman’s governor. The
warrant would have to be addressed to the RCIPS commissioner who can then
authorise a police service employee to execute it.

Under the regulations, known as the Information and Communications Technology
Authority {Interception of Telecommunication Messages) Regulations, 2011, the
governor would need a specific reason for issuing such a warrant. Those
include: the interests of national security, preventing or detecting serious
crime, averting an imminent threat to human life, for circumstances that fall
within the scope of international mutual assistance agreements, or to safeguard
the economic well-being of the Cayman Islands.

The regulations also state that the governor must be “satisfied that the
interception of the message is proportionate to the ends sought to be achieved
by intercepting the message and the information sought to be obtained cannot be
obtained by other less intrusive means”.

Warrants issued by the governor must state the facts that constitute
the grounds for issuing the document, details of the person or premises to
which the request relates, a description of the messages to be intercepted,
details of the communications service provider, and supporting evidence that
the request is urgent – in cases where the application is said to be urgent.

Urgent warrant applications can be issued verbally and only last up to
24 hours after issuance. Otherwise, all other applications to the governor must
be made in writing.

According to the Interception of Telecommunication Messages
regulations, no evidence can be adduced or disclosure made for the purposes of
any legal proceeding or proceeding of a Commission of Inquiry. That means
intelligence gathered in the course of any communications interception
activities cannot be used in a court or formal inquiry proceeding. An
intercepted communication is defined as “any communication intercepted in the
course of its transmission by means of a postal service or telecommunications
system”.

Also, there is no provision in the regulations for oversight of
warrants by the courts. The regulations do establish an audit committee to
periodically review the governor’s issuance of warrants under the regulations,
but that review would occur only after the warrant is granted.

“The new regulations do not give police a free hand in monitoring
anyone’s communications,” a statement from the RCIPS read. “The regulations
provide robust checks and balances.”

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, an attorney, disagrees with the
‘robustness’ of those checks.

“There is no judicial oversight of this,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “There
is this very cosy committee of two [referring to the governor and the police
commissioner].

“There are justifiable reasons for police doing this, but we know that
the UK doesn’t always act honourably.”

Please see the full story in Tuesday’s editions of the Caymanian
Compass…  

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3 COMMENTS

  1. OK,
    So governor Duncan Taylor
    WILL you now proceed to issue the Police a Warrant to search DIGICEL RECORDS, AND ALL OTHER PHONE RECORDS, EMAIL, LAP TOP of everyone concerned with the disappearance of Kerran Natalee Baker?

    DUNCAN TAYLOR NEEDS TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE PROCESS OF FINDING KERRAN NATALEE BAKER.

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  2. At this time, you do not need more info on people. Please do something with the info that you already have and resolve some crimes, and then, if the population that pays your salary is happy for a job well done, you can ask for more tools. With this new law, i am almost certain that 15% of your time will be spent on tapping, 20% for listening to the radio and the remaining 65% will allow you to play on the internet.

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