AG warns against false advisory on social media monitoring

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.


Tribune Chief Reporter


ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday warned against a viral false advisory on social media monitoring.

Mr Bethel, Minister of Legal Affairs, said the anonymous and untrue posting was also circulated widely before the 2017 general elections.

He noted that the former administration did not address the matter.


"I wish to assure the Bahamian people in general and users of Social Media in particular that the Government of The Bahamas and its Law Enforcement Agencies are not engaged in the collection of any form of what is called 'meta data' on the private social postings of residents of our country," Mr Bethel said.

He added: "Any interception of any form of private communications can only take place in respect of a specific allegation of the commission of a crime under Bahamian law, and only in such circumstances as are permitted under the existing laws of The Bahamas."

It is not clear whether the false advisory stemmed from reports that the Department of Homeland Security will begin monitoring the social media accounts of Caribbean nationals and residents planning to visit the United States this week.

The new policy also covers immigrants who have obtained a green card and naturalized citizens, which took effect on Wednesday, October 18.

The announcement from the Trump regime was published in the Federal Register last month.

It will allow the Department of Homeland Security to collect information about an immigrant's Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, but also mentions all "search results."

It's not immediately clear if that means the agency will have access to such things as Google search histories, nor is it clear how that would be obtained.

A DHS document published on September 18, says the government will "expand the categories of records" collected "to include ... social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and will "update record source categories to include publicly available information obtained from the internet and information obtained and disclosed pursuant to information sharing agreements."

Homeland Security has further stated that this collection of data will continue with all immigrant groups and monitoring will stop once a person becomes a citizen.

For those looking to apply, are in the process of applying, or currently have immigrant status, the DHS statement read, you should be mindful of what you put out on the world wide web.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment