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Friday, December 11, 2015

CSEAN cautions Senate over attempt to muzzle social media, says it’ll spur identity theft



The Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has sounded a note of caution over the Nigerian Senate attempt to muzzle the social media, saying it would give rise to cybercrime and urged Senate to kill the bill as matter of urgency, reports ITRealms.

CSEAN national president, Mr. Remi Afon in a press statement made available to ITRealms said that the group condemned in totality the proposed bill entitled “An Act to prohibit frivolous petitions and other matters connected therewith” otherwise known as “Social Media Bill” which is meant to punish those found guilty with imprisonment or fine. 

He described the bill as “retrogressive, baseless, unrealistic, and has the propensity of increasing cyber crime in Nigeria.”

Pointing out that social media is an ardent tool to expose and fight against oppression, corruption, injustice, and lends voice to the voiceless. 

Afon also said that the rise of social media has shown that the Internet is truly a democratic medium where people could make their opinions known, insisting that no new law is needed in Nigeria to deal with social media misuse, if any, as the existing law coupled with the cyber crime law deal effectively with false allegations, libel and related offences. 

“All that is needed is a better understanding of the existing law as it is applicable to offences committed on the internet. The proposed bill is tantamount to a backdoor attempt to clamp down on free speech as enriched in Section 39(1) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria and as guaranteed by Article 19 of the United Nations universal declaration on human rights,” Afon said.

He further said that Internet has no borders, thus, the proposed bill if passed into law would create more damage than good in that people would begin to engage in identity theft, create bogus social media accounts and use proxies to remain anonymous in order to air their views which in effect will increase cyber crime. 

“At this stage when all hands should be on deck to track down cyber criminals who often use anonymous accounts and online anonymous proxies, it will be bad to push bloggers, Twitter, Facebook and other social media users into the dark world of internet,” he decried, suggesting that rather, the law enforcement agencies should be empowered to take down offensive posts and track down cyber criminals by way of capacity building.

CSEAN, Afon said, called on lawmakers to kill the bill as a matter of urgency.

+ITRealms DSA +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms)

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