The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC ) has announced that telcos must start monitoring and keeping records of daily calls, messages and other forms of communication that pass through their networks.
The telcos must adhere to this new order or risk a fine of N5 million for not complying.
The NCC also warned telcos that after the initial fine of N5 million, they would pay an additional daily fine of N500,000 for every day they fail to meet the NCC’s orders.
Why Record Call and Messages?
According to the NCC, the monitoring and recording is for security purposes and would be required whenever law enforcement agencies need it to aid their work.
However, this could blur the line between security concerns and freedom of speech. The privacy of citizens should not be subject to scrutiny from government agencies.
Yet, this is not the first time a move like this has been made.
Prior to the approval of this bill, there had been attempts to make it legal in 2013 for government to be able to access citizens’ calls and communication flow. It fell through then on the grounds that it compromised the privacy of citizens.
However, safety seems to be gaining grounds over privacy. And this appears to be a worldwide phenomenon.
According to recent reports, officials in the UK and US are asking that Facebook build a backdoor for law enforcement agencies to access communication streams across its platforms when needed.
The rising spate of insecurity seems to be pushing government across the world to seek solutions that question the right to privacy and freedom of speech. Perhaps, it is possible to find a balance?
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