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NGO Harps On Internet Freedom

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Paradigm Initiative has stressed the need for an enduring internet freedom in Nigeria in its policy brief.

Contrary to Federal Government’s plan to curtail internet privacy, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) said in the policy brief that internet freedom was needed because more than 45 million internet users in Nigeria were on the verge of losing their internet privacy on every form of Cyber-communication.

Paradigm Initiative had earlier commenced an action to a FOI Request on the $40 million Internet Surveillance Contract by the Federal Government.

This is in connection with   trending information revealing that command and control server for Funfisher, a product described by its distributor, Gamma International, as “Governmental I T Intrusion and Romote Monitoring Solutions” had been spotted in Nigeria.

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s Executive Director, Mr Gbenga Sesan, and Bankole Oluwafemi expressed their concerns over the intended abrogation of Internet Freedom by the FG explaining that the policy brief was imperative as its purpose was to promote advocacy towards public freedom in the cyberspace.

The brief raises pertinent issues concerning National Security and Internet Freedom, elaborates on scenarios and causes for concern and also gives recommendations on the way forward.

It draws analysis from the dawn of the democratic dispensation in the country to the contemporary administrative approach to internet freedom and the need for understanding the implications that could militate against our national growth.

Explaining why the NGO stood for internet freedom, its COD, Mrs Tope Ogundipe said “the absence of data privacy and lawful interception laws raises issues of possibility of grave abuse. A society in which perceived \enemies’ of the government could lose their fundamental rights in the name of keeping Nigeria safe cannot be said to be free and democratic. It is in the interest of all concerned that the internet surveillance and monitoring contract be annulled. Nigerians must also be sensitised to understand the direct and indirect implication of unchecked government access to the private data. Enduring internet freedom is in Nigeria’s best interest.

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Don Tasks FG On Cyber Security

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As internet-related crimes continue to increase in the country,  a university lecturer, Dr Dan Eluke, has urged the Federal Government to intensify action and stem the menace.
Eluke made the call yesterday in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt.
He said that the call became imperative after a critical observation of what the Internet fraudsters were doing to unsuspecting members of the public.
According to him, there is no better way to kill a man than to hack his bank account or cell phone line, saying its effects are worse than the trauma of the defunct SARS.
Eluke who is a lecturer at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt,
narrated how an Internet fraudster used the line of his victim to apply for a loan from the bank, which he said, was the height of the crime.
The university don said that the Federal Government had the potentials to check Internet fraud, but expressed regrets that the government could wait that long before taking action against it.
He suggested capital punishment for Internet offenders, saying such measures would bring an abrupt end to the menace.
The Tide reports that in recent times, Internet fraud, otherwise known as Yahoo Yahoo, has become the quickest way to get rich among young people, especially the male folks.
Investigation has shown that network providers now make more money from line retrieval as subscribers are always at various service centers to retrieve their lines which were affected by one Internet fraud or the other.
By: King Onunwor
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New Theft App Excites Phone Users

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The discovery of a mobile application capable of blocking stolen phones by a Nigerian company, E.F Network Limited, has been hailed as a welcome development.
A Port Harcourt based phone dealer, Mr Chukwudi Okpara, who spoke in an exclusive chat with The Tide, in Port Harcourt, recently, said that the application should be quickly introduced to the market in order to curb the menace of phone theft.
He said that the incidence of phone theft had forced many dealers out of business due to inability to readjust after repeated attacks by phone thieves.
According to him, the device should be developed quickly to gain fast market and public penetration owing to the negative challenges faced by majority of phone users.
The phone App known as “ephonetaxi”, has the capacity to lock out anyone who is not authorised to use the phone, thus making it both unusable and unsellable unless by authorised owners.
The Tide learnt that the application was designed to protect phone owners and the information stored in their phones from compromise in the event of loss or theft.
It was further gathered that the App could also stop unauthorised access to stored pictures, videos, messages as well as contacts of the authorised users.
The new App which is yet to gain access into the market, could also alert the authorised user of any development in SIM card, regulates and takes pictures, as well as locating suspected criminals.
Okpara who expressed regrets over the high occurrence of phone theft, blamed the hike in prices of phones on incessant attacks on phone dealers by hoodlums.
He hinted that most foreign investors were ready to develop the Nigerian phone market, but were often scared by the activities of phone  thieves.
Meanwhile, a phone user who gave his name as Mr Gift Okenna, whose stolen phone was recovered via a similar device by the defunct SARS Police unit, said that the new App would aid in tracking down criminals.
Okenna, however, appealed that the device should be installed in the phone from the point of production to prevent IT criminals from truncating the device.
By: King Onunwor
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Twitter Rolls Out Tweets That Disappear After 24 Hours

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Twitter says it is rolling out tweets which disappear after 24 hours, joining rival social platforms in offering ephemeral messages.
The new “fleets” which had been tested in several countries in recent months are “for sharing momentary thoughts” and aim to bring in users who want to avoid having their comments become permanent fixtures, according to a Twitter blog post, yesterday.
“Those new to Twitter found fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind,” said Product Manager Sam Haveson and Design Director, Joshua Harris, in the blog post.
“Because they disappear from view after a day, fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings,” the blog post added.
The move gives Twitter a new tool in competing with the likes of Snapchat, which made disappearing messages popular, and Facebook, which has also adopted the idea.
Twitter has become an important platform for politicians, celebrities and journalists, but it has lagged other social networks in users.
In the past quarter, it reported 187 million “monetizable” daily active users, trailing Snapchat and Facebook.
Twitter said the new format would allow users to create the same kinds of messages as in ordinary tweets, including images, videos and emojis, with the option to have the message disappear.
“Your followers can see your fleets at the top of their home timeline,” Haveson and Harris said.
“Anyone who can see your full profile can see your fleets there too,” they twitted.
Twitter has been testing the new format in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea and learn that “we saw people with fleets talk more on Twitter.”
Twitter’s Research Director, Nikkia Reveillac, said the new format was aimed at helping people move from a passive to an active role in the Twitter conversation.
“People must feel comfortable and in control” to participate in the conversation, Reveillac told journalists.
“What we learned when we talk to people is that… engaging in conversation can honestly be incredibly terrifying… And we know that this is true in real life. And we know that it is true online,” Reveillac said.
Harris told journalists that the move was expected to boost engagement at Twitter.
“Lurking and drafting are cool, but for Twitter to really serve the public conversation, people need to feel comfortable having conversation with less pressure.
“And it might seem like we’re a little late to the game on this but we’ve been thoughtful and exploring the format and how it works for people on Twitter. And we realized through market test research that it makes sense for our platform,” he said.
Twitter said that another new feature rolling out next year is the “voice tweet,” or audio recording which takes the place of text and has been tested in the past few months.
“Sometimes, 280 characters just does not cut it,” Product Designer, Maya Gold Patterson said.
“And sometimes tweeting isn’t the right way of communicating at the moment. And so we were interested in exploring how audio could help add an additional layer to the public conversation,” he said.
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