We Are Listening…

June 21, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 21 Jun) – The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno on Thursday criticized a government proposal for telephone and mobile communication firms to record all voice calls and text messages made by their owners in the Philippines.

It said the proposal made by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is an assault on the right to private communication.

It said an NTC order which is supposed to take effect next month requires all telephone and mobile phone companies to keep a log of all land line calls up to two months and four months for mobile phone communications.”

“This one order makes all the laws protecting private communication obsolete. Doctor-patient private communication privileges are thrown down the sewer; lawyer-client confidentiality also becomes a victim of this order and even journalists and their private sources for news are now exposed.”

“Intimate communication between husband and wives are open for scrutiny,” Elmer Labog, chairman of the KMU, said in a statement sent to the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

But the NTC said that only the time, dates and length of calls will be recorded and not actual conversations. The proposal would only be used for billing complaints of consumers.

The Philippine police have praised the proposal, saying, it would help in fighting terrorism and criminal syndicates.

Labog said the NTC proposal would only serve as a legal blanket for eavesdropping and end up targeting government critics and political groups opposed to President Gloria Arroyo’s rule.

“Even before this order, the tapping of phone conversations of private individuals has become a staple for the intelligence units of the military and police and court order have never been a hindrance to them continuing such surveillance,” Labog said.

He said his group is coordinating with consumer advocacy groups like TxtPower on how to fight this order. “We are also calling on all Filipinos who value their privacy to oppose this,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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