Ministry of National Security talks about listening on phone calls

Big Brother, as George Orwell called it in his novel 1984, is looking over your shoulder. He was referring to a society where the authority is always near listening, watching, and in Belize that scenario is now closer than we imagine. Minister of National Security, Carlos Perdomo spoke about wire tapping earlier this week on Open Your Eyes, Channel Five’s breakfast show. According to Perdomo, criminal activity will be monitored but there will be other people whose conversations would be monitored? Will it be you and me? That’s what we asked him.

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security

“We are looking at what we call lawful intercept in trying to deal with the communication system. The goal will be to target the criminal communication but of course you know you will always have problem with other people.”

William Neal

“What exactly does that mean? Does that mean that you start monitoring calls from individuals?”

Carlos Perdomo

“Yes, but not indiscriminately. Within all the proposals that we have seen or the laws in Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia I believe we’re looking at some of those, there always has to be somebody identified in possible criminal activity and you have to approach a judge to get permission. So it’s not like you just listen to everybody’s thing, you have to target maybe particular drug barons as we call them or maybe gang personnel or maybe even people who might be in trafficking of persons or contraband or something like that. But you would have to create a profile for that particular person as an individual and the judge would look at it.”

If contraband is a valid reason for tapping phone lines, then the Ministry of National Security might also tap the lines of persons in high places. If you recall, while he was the Minister of Sate in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, Juan Coy was accused of abusing his powers when he instructed the B.D.F. to release contraband and prohibited goods including twelve cases of soft drinks, Squirt, and Gallo beer to a smuggler. In March of 2009, the Toledo West Representative was then suspended to the back bench for six months as punishment.
Live and let live