There are no 5G stations in operation in Barbados.
The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology has refuted a post circulating on WhatsApp which claims a number of these stations were located around Barbados and were being used to monitor the communications and social media activity of citizens and residents.
In a statement, MIST said the claims were not only false, but reckless and diverted “the attention and resources of Government away from critical activities necessary to keep the country running at a time of grave national crisis”.
The Ministry further explained that Government had not approved any 5G spectrum assignments, and therefore, there were no 5G installations providing mobile services to the public under construction in Barbados.
“For the past several weeks, the Unit has been working with Telecommunications Service Providers to enhance mobile quality of service across the island. This includes installation of new cell sites with single or multiple antennas, as well as Cells on Wheels (COWS) and other infrastructural works aimed at improving mobile coverage and reducing interference,” the Ministry outlined in its statement.
MIST also reminded members of the public that there were laws regulating the monitoring of communications, adding that there was no generalized Government monitoring of telephone calls, social media messages or other communications of the public, nor has the Government authorized any such monitoring on its behalf.
The Ministry said there was a very specific set of circumstances under other Laws of Barbados in which the Royal Barbados Police Force may monitor the communications of any individual suspected of criminal activity, such as under the Computer Misuse Act.
Under the Act, it is an offence to perpetrate or actively spread false information using a computer or any related technology.
MIST called on individuals, particularly during this time of national crisis generated by COVID-19, to be vigilant and stop the dangerous practice of sharing false information “designed to spread untruths and cause national fear or panic”.