Phone mon­i­tor­ing: Po­lice Com­mis­sion takes case to CC

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

It was only last week that the Sun­day Times re­ported on its front page that the head of the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion De­part­ment (CID) Se­nior DIG Ravi Senevi­ratne re­vealed how Po­lice Chief Pu­jith Jaya­sun­dera wanted tele­phone records of se­nior of­fi­cers.

The rev­e­la­tion came at a meet­ing the Po­lice top brass -- with the ex­clu­sion of the IGP -met mem­bers of the Po­lice Com­mis­sion. Mr Senevi­ratne said the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit which func­tions un­der the Po­lice Chief had given a list of names. Upon pe­rus­ing, he had first found his phone number and, there­after, a closer study had re­vealed all the mo­bile p h o n e nu m b e r s be­longed to se­nior Po­lice of­fi­cers.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, t h e Po l i c e Com­mis­sion has said it would make rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the Con­sti­tu­tional Coun­cil over sev­eral issues they have raised, par­tic­u­larly over the Po­lice Chief.

It has now come to light, that the IGP Jaya­sun­dera had sought to use a ma­chine handed over to the Po­lice by the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice. It ex­tracts in­for­ma­tion held on mo­bile phones, in­clud­ing deleted e-mails and location data. One such ma­chine has been as­signed for use by the Ter­ror­ism In­ves­ti­ga­tion Di­vi­sion.

That this piece of equip­ment and oth­ers were handed over to the Sri Lanka Po­lice by their Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts was re­vealed by the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (ABC). The ABC has sought re­course to the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act in Aus­tralia.

An ABC re­port said that the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice ( AFP) “was cen­tral to the Gov­ern­ment's at­tempts to deal with the in­flux of asy­lum seek­ers flee­ing the civil war in Sri Lanka. In mid- 2009 it struck a deal with Sri Lankan po­lice to pro­vide equip­ment and train­ing to help Sri Lanka dis­rupt peo­ple-smug­gling net­works.

Ex­cerpts of the ABC re­port: “Doc­u­ments re­leased to 7.30 (ti­tle of the ABC pro­gramme) un­der a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, the last of a se­ries dat­ing back to 2011, de­tail what is be­ing pro­vided. Across five years the AFP have given the CID and other branches of the Sri Lankan po­lice ev­ery­thing from fur­ni­ture and of­fice equip­ment to hight e ch in­tel­li­gence pro - grammes. Among them is the Jade In­ves­ti­ga­tor soft­ware pro­gram, which al­lows po­lice to eas­ily link pho­tos, video, in­tel­li­gence re­ports and other ev­i­dence to­gether.

“An­other pro­gram given to the CID was IBM's i2 An­a­lyst's Note­book, a pow­er­ful tool to vi­su­alise net­works of peo­ple be­ing tar­geted by a po­lice force. The AFP also handed over two ma­chines that ex­tract in­for­ma­tion held on mo­bile phones, in­clud­ing deleted emails, texts and location data.

“Former diplo­mat Bruce Haigh served as Aus­tralia's Deputy High Com­mis­sioner in Sri Lanka in 1994. He told 7.30 the equip­ment could have been used to pur­sue the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment's en­e­mies.

“The AFP also built or re­fur­bished at least four of­fices in CID's head­quar­ters in Sri Lanka's cap­i­tal, Colombo.”

Po­lice Chief Jaya­sun­dera, mean­while, was in Aus­tralia last week at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence of Po­lice heads.

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