by Larry Smith
‘Kill the Bill’ has become a rallying cry for privacy advocates in the Bahamas ever since the government - without prior notice - tabled a draconian new surveillance law called the Interception of Communications Bill.
This law will let the authorities intercept and store any communication. Other than applying for a warrant, there are no safeguards built in that would cover such issues as attorney-client privilege, the confidential sources of journalists, or the conversations of members of parliament.
The proposal follows on the heels of similar legislation enacted in Britain, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and other countries over the last decade or so.
These laws all trace their origin back to the US Patriot Act, passed after the 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington. Among other things, the Patriot Act gave authorities a free hand to conduct mass surveillance and secretly enter homes and businesses.
Secret search of your home or office is also a feature of our government’s Bill, which was recently withdrawn following an avalanche of criticism. However, the government is not abandoning the law. Rather, it will craft a public relations campaign to help push it through.