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New Cyprus law to allow Big Brother to listen in

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou has submitted legislation opening the way for law enforcement agencies to listen in on phone calls in Cyprus.

The proposed law will see the police and Cyprus Intelligence Service (KYP) able to obtain a court order to record private conversations they believe may be connected to national security or serious crimes including pre-meditated murder, homicide, child pornography and drugs.

Only authorised police or KYP personnel will be permitted to listen into and record the telephone conversations.

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The request will be submitted to the court by the Attorney General’s office after being sent there with the written consent of either Chief of Police Zacharias Chrysostomou, the head of KYP, Dr. Kyriakos Kouros, or another relevant official.

Nicolaou’s proposal recommends a Cabinet-appointed three-person body be set up to evaluate the process at regular intervals.

The legislation also means that telecommunications companies in Cyprus will need to have the means to have their networks connected to police and KYP equipment and be in a position to pass on the relevant information immediately.

The proposal, which Nicolaou submitted to the parliament on Wednesday, comes after the House at the end of 2015 voted in legislation giving the police and KYP access to other types of private communication including letters and e-mails.

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