Macau approves new wiretapping law, Portuguese deputy admits “reservations”

The Macau parliament today approved in a videoconference session the new wiretapping law, a regime that arouses “many reservations” to Portuguese deputy José Pereira Coutinho, who called for “zero tolerance for abusive interception”.

When he presented the “Legal Regime for Interception and Protection of Communications” for the first time, Macau Security Secretary Wong Sio Chak justified the importance of this law with the fact that “State security is becoming increasingly more urgent” and still with the need to “follow the evolution of the times”.

For the Government, the current regime, which had been in force for more than 24 years, was outdated, and it was necessary to respond to the development of communications technology and the increasing complexity of criminal activity.

“With many reservations and many doubts” about the future application of this new wiretapping law, José Pereira Coutinho said today during the parliamentary session, held by videoconference, that, like fellow benchmate Che Sai Wang, he voted against “some articles”.

The two deputies of the Macau Civil Service Workers Association (ATFPM) voted against, for example, the article establishing an exception to the notification of persons harmed by the interception of communications if this would interfere with the purposes of the investigation or investigation.

The two deputies also gave a red light to the clause that defines that “criminal police bodies may ask telecommunications operators and network communication service providers” to record certain communications “without prior judicial authorization”, in case there are reasons to believe that “the records of communications related to the crime are likely to serve as evidence and the delay may represent a great danger to legal interests of relevant value”.

“We also voted against (…) because we consider that Macau is a very small medium, the means of communication are excellent, there have never been any problems or difficulties in contacting judicial magistrates, so such urgency is not justified”, justified the Portuguese.

In the declaration of vote, Coutinho recalled article 32 of the Basic Law [Mini-Constitution of Macau], which establishes that “the freedom and secrecy of the media of Macau residents are protected by law”.

“In the future, we can only put hope and trust in the judicial magistrates, so that there is a rigorous and integral judicial control in this new regime, preventing and imposing zero tolerance in abusive interceptions”, he concluded.

Source: With Agencies

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