UNC Senator Saddam Hosein says the Opposition is prepared to go to the courts, to stop government’s proposed Interception of Communications Bill becoming law in this country.

Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew show today, the opposition senator says the proposed law runs roughshod over each citizen’s constitutional right to privacy.

Senator Hosein says while they have supported government on several critical pieces of anti-crime legislation over the past five years, they have no intention of supporting this bill.

“We heard that the Attorney General has a Plan-B, where he gave some indication that the three-fifths majority may be removed from the bill. If that happens, we are free to enter the courts to get this particular piece of legislation struck down,” the opposition senator promises.

Attorney General Faris Al Rawi argues that the proposed Interception of Communication Bill follows international best practice employed in other jurisdictions, such as the US and UK. (Image courtesy PARLIAMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)

According to the opposition senator, the attorney general passed a law last year that made it illegal for prisoners to have cell phones in prisons, yet there seems to be no move to use cell phone jammers in the prisons.

He observes that the senate vice president made it plain why—so the state could continue capturing intelligence being swapped back and forth between criminals inside prison and those outside.

Senator hosein warns that government’s new Interception of Communications Bill won’t see the state stop at monitoring criminals.

He argues that under the bill, every single citizen can have his or her privacy invaded at any time, without the safeguard of the police first obtaining a warrant from a judge.

“The police officer—or the SSA or the Chief of Defense Staff—has to satisfy a judge of the High Court that this thing is so important that they need the intercept, and that they had tried other methods in order to get the information but they weren’t able to do so,” he explains. “So interception is really a matter of last resort. Now, the attorney general is introducing this as your first port of call.”

Senator Saddam Hosein warns that the proposed law allows the State—without a warrant—to listen-in on citizens’ private phone conversations, intercept their text messages and emails, and have that information presented before the courts as evidence.

In addition, he points out that citizens’ stored, private communications, namely emails, text messages and phone calls, also can be obtained without a warrant, for use as evidence in the courts.

He maintains such measures are unconstitutional.

Images courtesy PARLIAMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO