Reps Kick Over $40m Internet Surveillance Contract - Gragrah News!
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Reps Kick Over $40m Internet Surveillance Contract

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 | 5/08/2013 09:31:00 am


Members of the House of Representatives have described as “unconstitutional” the alleged $40m contract the Federal Government awarded to an Israeli firm to monitor Nigerians
Internet communications.
Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told The PUNCH on Tuesday that the news of the contract came as a shock to lawmakers.
An online medium, Premium Times on April 25, 2013 had reported that the Goodluck Jonathan administration awarded the contract to an Isreali firm, Elbit Systems.
According to the report, the project is to help spy on citizens’ computers and Internet communications under the guise of intelligence gathering and national security.”

Faulting the project, Gbajabiamila said, “Such a contract, policy or whatever it is called is an illegality.”
Though the aim of the contract might be to monitor terrorism and other security threats, Gbajabiamila noted that law must set the limit to the invasion of the privacy of individuals.
He argued that under the 1999 Constitution, Nigerians had their right to privacy.
Gbajabiamila added, “If you have to interfere with that privacy for the purposes of security, there should be a limit set by law.
“What categories of people are to be monitored? Why are you monitoring their communication? Is it for terrorism? These limits have to be set by law.”
On whether lawmakers had identified the contract in the budget, the Minority Leader said such a contract would not likely come under easily identifiable sub-heads.He said, “You are not likely to find a specific sub-head where Internet Monitoring or Internet Surveillance is mentioned.
“The government would have probably tucked it under a sub-head like security gadgets or communication equipment or just security.”
The lawmaker also said a bill against invasion of privacy was in the works and that it would be due for first reading soon.
He said, “We are already working on a bill to address such fears of interference with the privacy of the people.”

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