Cops widen techie spying net

| 23/10/2013

(CNS): According to a leaked memo, which was sent by the Information and Communications Technology Authority’s director to local telecommunications firms, government authorities are planning to widen their spying net and wire taps to include all kindsof electronic information. The memo, sent on 15 October, calling the private companies to a meeting indicates that the local authorities are planning revised regulations that will allow the authorities to not only tap phones but wider communication networks as well. While this is supposed to assist the RCIPS in legal investigations, without oversight or a data protection law the authorities will be able to collect masses of information with newly purchased spying equipment.

Almost $1 million has been set aside in this budget for the specialist surveillance equipment to intercept electronic communications, which the police have already purchased, sources told CNS this week. However, the cops now need to get inside the local communication networks to check that it can do the job required, especially with the upgrades that most of the local telecoms firms have recently undertaken.

The ICTA’s director, David Archbold who is himself currently under an investigation regarding possible irregularities relating to recruitment at the government authority, told the local telecom firms and internet service providers that government had instructed the authority to draft new regulations to mandate the provision of legal interception facilities for the police by the telecom firms.

“Although initially these regulations will apply only to mobile telephony service providers, it is anticipated that in the near to medium term, these obligations will be extended to all telephony service providers. The authority has already commenced consultations with LIME and Digicel, but would now like to extend these discussions to include all other telephony licenses,” he wrote calling them to a meeting, which, it is understood, was postponed.

Currently anyone who is employed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service can intercept communication in the course of a criminal investigation and there are few limits or any oversight on this ability. The spying can only be authorized by the governor, who signs a warrant for the police commissioner, who then delegates and authorizes whomever he chooses in the RCIPS to do the spying, again with no oversight or limit. It cannot be used in court but it can used in the course of an investigation and to collect dossiers on suspects.

Before she issues a warrant, the governor would need to be convinced by the commissioner of the need under a number of reasons but the criteria is quite broad and includes national security interests, averting an imminent threat to human life, circumstances that fall within the scope of international mutual assistance agreements, to safeguard the economic well-being of the Cayman Islands and preventing or detecting serious crime, which gives the police a very wide net to spy, not just on suspected criminals, but the people they talk to.

Although an audit committee is supposed to have been created to examine all interception warrants issued by the governor, the committee has never been set up and it is not clear whether that committee would be able to see exactly what and how much data the police are collecting.

CNS has contacted the authorities regarding the plans and is awaiting a response.

See memo attached and the current regulations relating to wire-taps

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a US citizen and an ex intelligence professional, I have see abuses first hand an only have one warning. If you think this will increase your safety, it will not. If you think adequate controls will prevent abuse, it will not. Be very leery when someone says this is for your safety, it is more than likely for their control.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Shoot no more phone sex.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try the toaster instead – I'm pretty sure that's not been tapped yet.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wait until they share the info with the FBI.

    Anyone downloading music or movies will be….?

  4. Anonymous says:


    Police State courtesy of the New World Order!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean the telecom companies will not be able to upgrade new tech with this in place, unless sanction by the police, because with each upgrade, their spyware could become obselete, because as I understand it all the comunication will now have to pass thru the Police department to come and go into the island, so what happens if there stupid system crashes or gets hacked do all or info get compormised this is pure BS, why do we as a country has to suffer for a goverment to spy on our privacy tell the police and Goverment to get lost with this idea.

    Where the hell is our rights, we are told in this country what we can wear, read and now we got to be careful what we say or see.

    The Police has so many laws on the books it is sensless, tons of books illegal, shop on a sunday illegal, more that 4 people with the same shirt illegal imeddiate gang law come into effect, paintball gun illegal, I'm tired as a Caymanian having the state tell me what I can and can't do and you brianwashed idiots about if your doing nothing illegal listen to me, wait till the Police wash your behind with a case and you will be begging for your civil rights.

    This crap has got to stop.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hello Cayman why has the commissioner not given any update on the stolen van, Cayman let us not give up on this very serious matter why does he not have to be accountable for his officers gross irreisponsiblity. I ask again commissioner WHERE IS THE VAN ?  

  7. The Cake is a Lie! says:

    There's more to this. That's the part the Gov. can't and won't talk about.

    Protect yourselves. The Invasion of your privacy, there's always more than meets the eye and/or what our leaders choose to tell us. 

    "Serious" criminals know or will now know to avoid the telcoms etc (as they may have already been doing). 


    Now its up to the regular public, whether or not you have anything to hide or keep private. Don't let it be easy for the powerful to obtain your life's daily details and doings. All for the pursuit of our "safety", its simply a lie. Crime is big business, don't think for a second it's anything but for those whose careers are in law enforcement, lawyers, jailers etc. $$$ Your privacy up for sale.


    Some reading andinfo below; Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and *Tempora. 

    Ahh, Tempora, sounds like our very own Tempura, hmm?!

    *Tempora, as exposed by The Guardian newspaper, is a clandestine security electronic surveillance program tested in 2008,[2] established in 2011 and operated by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

    -Stop governments from spying on you by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services.

    Read more here –

  8. Anonymous says:

    We must not forget that  from the dawn of mankind, every power the authorities or government has has been abused. This will be no different.

  9. Slowpoke says:

    Has anybody heard anything from the Human Rights Comission lately?

    Are they still operational?  If so, do they have any opinion on this matter?

    • anonymous says:

      I'm not sure the Human Rights Commission was ever intended to be operational. Was it? Really?

      Gordon Barlow

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great idea in principle but wait until it runs into the difficulties experienced finding the on / off button and then using it without breaking it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The problem I have with this is that I don't trust that certain members of the RCIP only use this for criminal or other official investigations. This island is so small I can just see this being used for spying in domestic matters as well. So now, BIG BROTHER is not only watching you, he can hear you as well. If you are clean and not mixed up in any illegal stuff you have nothing to worry about but as I said I can see some nosy cops just listening to specific people for the heck of it too.

  12. Anonymous says:

    "According to a leaked memo" so we have an "Edward Snowden" in Cayman now? People need to know when to keep things to themselves. Not everything has to be leaked to the media. I find that Cayman (as many small islands, towns) have a very "gossipy" attitude. Seems like most people want to be "in the know" and then if by chance they find out they don't keep it to themselves, they feel the need to share it with others not ever taking into consideration the possible consequences of their careless actions.

    • All Knowing says:

      ‘Every burned book enlightens the world’, I say burn this one bright! Never trust the powers that be…fully, eventually you won’t have anyone to come to your rescue. :-\\

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well I guess no more sexting for me. Now i will have to start practicing my sign language skills. Hehheeehheee

  14. Juanunos - ex-Tempura says:

    Nothing new here. Operation Tempura was accessing phone records and voicemails six years ago. According to documents in the public domain (if you know where to look for them) they had the phone numbers of every Net News employee as early as September 2007 and used them to try to link communications between those involved, including some of the people who were helping the investigation. They also knew that Net News had a common password (as Wendy Ledger knows it was 'password') that accessed every part of their system. In February 2008 they even brought in an IT specialist who was apparently used to hack a number of websites including the Net News one, which he succeeded in crashing in March 2008. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Where is the outrage at this???  Soon we will have absolutely no privacy rights in the Cayman Islands. Sadly, many people do not realize the slippery slope this represents.  Having nothing to hide is not the point, people!  Do you not know any history?  Does anyone remember the USSR?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes Boris, I remember it well. And if you think that got any better, think again! I still say in an age of internet criminals, gangs, drug kings, then this intrusion is a small price to pay for the 95% of us that want to live peacefully,as long as the controls are there to prevent abuse.

        • Private Eyes ° ° says:

          You say,  "as long as the controls are there to prevent abuse."  I say, who controls the controllers? 

          – It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. (Ben Franklin)

          * Law-abiding citizens value privacy. Terrorists require invisibility. The two are not the same, and they should not be confused. (Richard Perle)

          Switch Terrorist for "serious" criminals, get the point? One day the petty criminal will be looked at as the serious criminal and so on and so forth. 

          This kind of invasion and power is intoxicating, always be skeptical when its toted as a save all, end all. It so rarely is and that's why we, as citizens, need to question authority. Never stop!

      • John Evans says:

        Yes I do, my work took me to Moscow and Leningrad several times before the break-up of the USSR. You had to work under the assumption that hotel rooms and phones were bugged, and that the notorious floor ladies were reporting all your movements to the KGB. Even worse was East Germany and this is definitely a move in that direction.

        What interests me is that Operation Tempura has not only appeared here but in editorial comments about this matter on two other websites, and for good reason. Despite the former Governor, Duncan Taylor, claiming that ‘lessons had been learned’ from that fiasco it’s quite clear from this that nobody has really learned anything except that the people of the Cayman Islands will put up with XXXX like this and not make a fuss about it.

        Based on what I have been told the extent to which Tempura accessed confidential communications is not just remarkable but it was all done without any effective oversight. Just to top that off, many of the results are now in the hands of a private individual who is currently resident in the UK. As one Judge has already remarked ‘you couldn’t make it up if you tried’.

        In fact it is now suspected over here that the main reason the FCO are so strongly opposed to the release of the Aina report (and also why the original authors of the complaint which generated it are reluctant to make that public) is because the contents would reveal the extent of the unlawful interceptions. Bearing in mind the people who were identified by the Financial Times last year as targets of the complaint it seems fair to say that Tempura's investigations went into some very sensitive areas, way outside the original remit and that should have sent out a few warnings about what might happen in the future.

        So far I understand the tab for this is just under CI$1million. I suspect that figure is a drop in the ocean compared to the financial fallout that will follow when this gets off the ground. If you wanted to discourage businesses from using the Cayman Islands I can’t think of a much better move to drive them away. As for the potential human rights issues if these powers are misused – the only winners there are going to be lawyers and I doubt at the end of the day that all the money and resources RCIPS are prepared to squander on this will make even a tiny dent in the crime stats.

      • Anonymous says:

        I remember the USSR. In fact i lived there my first 30 years of life. What about it? Don't see the connection. I was not spyied on nor did I care. A lot of what you know about life in USSR is not acurate.

      • Cayman Concern says:

        We need the data protection law NOW!!

        • Freakin' 'ell says:

          Yeah, that ought to do it.   Everyone follows all the laws in Cayman… just look at Big Mac, and look at the bozos who arrested an innocent judge based on legal advice from someone who wasn's a lawyer, or any number of other fiascos where they can't even read and understand the laws thre are, let alone enforce one.  Yup, a new law is all we really need…

    • J Salasi I. -111? says:

      Jah people it wrong wrong wrong. The controls the Lady Guv peaks of can easily be subverted. This is really invasive and has to be stopped by whatever legal means there is. There is a question that is not being asked people and the question is?

      Did the Police not have spying equipment already that was lost in the truck that was stolen, whatever happened to that? Is this new equipment going to be stolen again? If ona only knew ona bin spied on  by the same ones,

  15. Donnie says:

    The telecom providers have greatly empowered the criminal element in the past few years through their unregulated sale of disposable pay-as-you-go telephones. The leaking of this memo clearly demonstrates why they need to be excluded from any knowledge of actual interception of telephone conversations by RCIPS. 


    • Anonymous says:

      What about the right to privacy? Especially if you are not involved in any illegal activities. 

      I thought the right to privacy was written in the 2009 Constitution of the Cayman Islands 

      Why is big brother watching us all and when did Cayman become a police state?

  16. Anonymous says:

    If it will help catch these gun toting criminals, I am all for it.  I have nothing to hide in my conversations, so it doesn't matter to me.  However, I want my island rid of the criminals who plague it with robbberies and burglaries so the RCIP has my blessing.  And if all of you who call on the RCIP to do a better job really do mean that, then you likewise will support them in getting better intelligence.


    • Anonymous says:

      But who is a criminal?  I can see it now… you will be complaining about how is it that you went over the speed limit and an officer knows all about your personal life just by a mere warrant to do so!  It is you, Sir, who is setting yourself up! 

  17. Anonymous says:

    All my phones calls are going to start off with "Bin is not dead, he lives in WB BoBo" 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    yep now that you can see right through my garments, I wore that color and style just for you today, pretty lace and the zipper down the front, glad you like it now sit over there until you calm down. sheesh! what's coming next??

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is something all of Cayman needs to go out and march aginst, all this spying has got to stop at some point, for the love of heaven sake you politions with any balls tell the police to get lost we don't want to become a police state as well

    • Anonymous says:

      Right now, I'd gladly accept a police state and give up some of my personal freedom if I knew that I can walk this islandat night again without fear of getting beat up, robbed or KILLED.  They should have random searches ever week as well!  We should also embrace capital punishment.  Singapore should be our model!

      • Cayman Anonymous says:

        Ummm  .. my friend, we are already a police state!  Why do you think we have so many regulations and hike fees that are hurting local businesses?  We have more laws than people, enough to stiflefree enterprise, expression and creativity.

  20. Anonymous9 says:

    "..circumstances that fall within the scope of international mutual assistance agreements"

    Cast a pretty wide net.

    This pretty much means ANY and EVERYBODY

  21. Diogenes says:

    So SIS can tap the Chief Justices phone (again) and e mail, silly.

  22. Anonymous says:

    ..and you guys think they are not already spying on us???…really???  they are just trying to make it more legal, that is all this is.

  23. Freakin' 'ell says:

    The difference is that the local hillbillies can't keep secrets or maintain privacy at all in Cayman.  I recall when I worked there that we'd get e-mail pictures of car accidents and crime scenes sent to us which were clearly coming directly out of the police station and were from people working there.  Medical records and banking files on people were available for anyone just for the asking, provided you knew the person whose cousin managed the files.  There are simply no secrets in Cayman, international advertizing notwithstanding.  Given that, every intercepted phone call will be the talk of the tavern that evening and any competitors will know your secrets within hours, and the last nail in the coffin of privacy will get nailed in.  No one will want to do business in Cayman after that if the business requires privacy (legitimately or otherwise).  That's the difference.  That and of course posting on CNS will have to stop for everyone who isn't in favour of the current government, lest they be persecuted in true Caymanian style.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Demographically speaking.  This is a good thing and a bad thing  mainly because, this will help police in a way put a stop to any illegal activities going on with criminals through communication.  The bad part about this is that our privacy laws will be violated as stated in the constitution and this can constuite to legal actions of lawsuits being taken.

    • Anonymous says:

      A worthy trade off as far as I'm concerned.  Spy on me all you want… I have nothing to hide!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why is this only up to the governor to approve rather than the judiciary?

    • anonymous says:

      FCO rules…dont ever forget it!!!

    • Pit Bull says:

      Because that is how it is done when it comes to the important things.

    • Anon says:

      Sounds to me like a huge fishing expedition, gross intrusion of privacy and contrary to widely accepted data protection and human rights policies.

      • Anonymous says:

        whats new in this place? theres no regard for anything human… unless it has money to pay someone off!

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the UK does not trust the local judiciary – that's why they spied on them and even tapped their phone.

      • Anonymous says:

        They tapped their phone because they wanted to find out if the Chief Justice was catching up to MI6's skullduggery in the Eurobank affair, not because they don't trust the Cayman courts. 

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Will this spy on who blogs on CNS?! LOL. I bet Mac funded it himself then!

    Seriously, though, who is this going to target & for what? Is it blanket eavesdropping & privacy invasion or only for drugs/murder/gangs/smuggling etc.? Is this legal?

    I see they spent $1m & it may not even work. Typical Cayman.

    Wouldn't funding the police boats to intercept drug n gun runners & searching containers for stolen goods be better? Ah no, 'cos that doesn't sound flashy & waste money & may get results.

  27. Anonymous says:

    In principal, if you do not have anything to hide, then this is not bad. It could protect the majority from the minority of real criminals here and even help but up the "gangs" and white collar criminals.

    The US is probably already listening in, and possibly UK. However, given the history of appalling oversight here, who is going to police it and decide what information is relevant and can be used for what? I understand the governor has to sign off, OK, that is one safety check, however knowing certain politicians here, I am certain they would think nothing of trumping up possible scenarios to allow snooping for their own political gain. Not sure Cayman is ready for this. Maybe better to approach US and UK agencies and ask for information should it be relevant?

    • Anonymous says:

      They are already listening….when you hear an echo on your landline and hear yourself talking….they are listening!  That sounded kind of spooky, halloween…oooh!:)

    • Anonymous says:

      Do they have a right to investigate one's sex life as my employer's do in my contract of employment?

      • Anonymous says:

        …anything to maintain "standards"

        • Anonymous says:

          LOL  Is everybody's "standard" the same….wish I could spy on some of them..but then maybe wouldn't want to see what I would see!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Orwhen a doctor has to ask whether you have had a homosexual relationship. What business is that of the government or insurance companies? You're just as likely to get an std from hetrosexual sex, but they don't ask you if you sleep with prostitutes or how many partners you've had in the last year.

        There are far more ways to breach your privacy than a few cctv cameras or monitoring devices. Take for example your loyalty card, your Facebook account, store cards, registering for online shopping etc, etc…..

        Where do you think that information goes, that's right, to the highest bidder and totally beyond your control. Information sells, it is how business and marketing works the world over.

        As for the UK or US spying on Caymanian's, really, you're not that special, get over it.

    • Anonymous says:

      There's nothing the U.S. would want to listen to here in Cayman, trust me!

  28. Anonymous says:

    "…which gives the police a very wide net to spy, not just on suspected criminals, but the people they talk to."


    Hmmmm…NSA type spying?


  29. Anonymous says:

    MI6 taps what it wants domestically and all our internet traffic is monitored by the CIA/FBI in Miami because of the routing systems.  So really what difference does it make?

  30. M :\\ says:

    From the UK agains "corruption" iniative

    To poligraphing our Police Officers

    From fighting "crime" iniative

    To installing 200+ CCTV camaras about the island

    From Governor / Commisioner upholding "good governance"

    To spying on the Caymanian public …

    I can clearly see where this is going.


  31. Whodatis says:

    Not the least bit surprised.

    This tiny little "backwards" rock, as so eloquently described by many posters, is now subject to NSA / GCHQ tactics?!

    For goodness sake, the majority of our criminal network is made up by some of the most simple-minded clowns within the community.

    We know these people. Almost every day I read the RCIPS / court reports it comes as no surprise when names are disclosed.

    Is Baines / UK / FCO trying to convince us that THESE CLOWNS are who are forcing widespread state espionage on the rest of us.

    Actually, correct that – it is not "state espionage" at all but international espionage because our country does not control or monitor our police force.

    Yes folks, this is unregulated UK / FCO spying on the entire country of the Cayman Islands.

    *Remember my comments from another CNS news report just a few days ago? Connect the dots folks. Wake up.

    "Anyway, considering the responsibility and power of the role certain individuals hold along with their professional background in their respective country of origin … I don't know if it is such a good idea to have said individuals in the position they currently occupy."

    • Anonymous says:

      Whodatis, I use to ignore your long posts, but sometimes you make alot of sense!  I don't care what anyone says but this is not right and our MLAs should be doing more to protect our privacies and basic human rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey, this is nothing new.  Had to sign an employment contract that is much more intrusive than all the above……by way of, this is the standard contract, sign or else you will lose your job!  That didn't need approval from anybody!!

    • Anonymous says:

      As you rightly say, these are home grown social rejects, and yes, you do know who they are but you still fail to do your civic duty and give information to police. 

      And predictably, you couldn't resist a swipe at the UK/FCO. In doing so you have put a large hole in your own conspiracy theory.

      Why, if this scum is so insignificant, do you think that the UK has any interest in spying on ordinary Caymanian's? The banking system is already monitored by the US and UK, and despite delusions of grandeur, Cayman has nothing else worthy of spying on.

      No, if the RCIPS want extra monitoring powers it is because of Cayman's geographical position on the Caribbean drugs route.

      In any case, most Caymanian's couldn't keep a secret if their lives depended on it. They all brag or whisper confidential information when they get it, you don't need GCHQ or the NSA to know that. 

      As for your international espionage jibe, well this is a British Territory and you will have to live with the consequences.

      I just relish the fact that it winds you up so much.

      • Whodatis says:

        Unfortunately for you poster, this issue extends far beyond the concerns of Whodatis … and yours for that matter.


        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, I agree, the FCO are after the recipe for Pepper Jelly and Rum Cake. We must make a stand, call out Ezzard and his zombie army, we must fight back to save our secrets.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Let it be clear, this is not to tap corrupt politicians, government officials and gang members, but to hurt the ordinary hardworking people and shift more public money to business friends.


    • Anon says:

      I'd be all for it if it were specifically for targetting and tapping corrupt politicians, government officials and gang members.  I mean lets face it, we need that!  But anything wider than that so far as I am concerned is a invading my privacy.