Charbel, Sehnaoui Reach Consensus over Providing Intelligence Bureau with Text Messages Dataإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel agreed with Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui to provide the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau with the text message (SMS) circulated among the Lebanese two months before the assassination of Intelligence Bureau head Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan on October 19.
According to As Safir newspaper published on Wednesday, the two officials reached consensus over a certain formula to allow the security agency to obtain the text messages without violating the privacy of citizens.
The newspaper said that the Intelligence Bureau will be handed over at a first stage the movement of the text messages in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, but will not be able to view the texts.
In the second stage, the security agency will be able to view the content of the text messages between “suspicious” numbers.
As Safir said that the agreement was reached after Charbel carried out consultations with ISF chief Ashraf Rifi.
Media reports said on Monday that the security agency also extended its request to acquire Facebook and several internet passwords that the Lebanese people use, under the pretext of “national security.”
However, the judicial authority, which is tasked with assessing the possibility of providing the security forces with the data, rejected the request submitted by the Intelligence Bureau.
The three-member authority stressed that the request clearly violates the constitution and law 140, which specifies the protection of communications data.
Sehnaoui previously said that he referred the request to the cabinet's general secretariat along with his recommendation to “reject” it.