The Interception of Communications Act, section three, states that a person who intentionally intercepts a communication in the course of its
transmission by means of a telecommunications system commits an offence.
There are certain exceptions to that law, and the Interception of Communications (Amendment) Bill 2019 provided five more exceptions to it. That Amendment was read by the National Assembly, last Wednesday.
The first exception is when the person has reasonable grounds for believing that there is consent from the person to whom or by whom the communication is being transmitted, when the communication is intercepted as an ordinary incident in the course of employment in the provision of telecommunication services.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, said that many persons, when calling a customer service line, receive a recording that lets them know the conversation is being recorded.
“And therefore, you have a choice at that point in time to end the telephone conversation or to proceed. Internationally, it’s accepted that once you stay on the line and proceed, you are consenting to the communication being recorded.”
She said that the primary purpose of that is to ensure the quality of the service being provided.
The Minister noted that Guyana has developed a series of competitive advantages over other large scale providers of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, due to the language the majority of persons speak, the time zone it operates in (relative to the US), and the relative calm of its climate when compared to other BPO competitors like the Philippines, as climate tends to affect connectivity, the Minister explained.
“The call centre industry is emerging and rapidly growing in Guyana. Internationally, it is now a $156B industry. We recognise that to remain viable, we must be able to attract a major international clientele.”
She said that, recently, Qualfon Guyana won two of four awards handed out at a recent international business process outsourcing conference held in Curacao this is a testament to Guyana’s performance in the industry, she said.
The other three exceptions in the amendment are when the telecommunication is not private, when the interceptor has a right to control the operation or the network in use, and when there is express or implied consent of the person to whom or by whom the communication is being transmitted.
After the Amendment was read a second time, at the request of Minister Hughes, the Amendment was read a third time and passed.
Hughes said that it “is a small amendment, but [that it will have a] big impact”.
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