The Federal Government has not made any request for access to private data of Nigerian users of Facebook, a report by the social networking site has revealed.
There has been apprehension in some quarters that the FG may resort to seeking information from major social networking sites after the lid was blown open on an alleged $40m Internet surveillance contract it entered into with an Israeli firm.
The contract was allegedly awarded earlier in the year to the firm, Elbit Systems, to spy on citizens’ computers and Internet communications under the guise of intelligence gathering and national security–including discussions on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
An outrage followed the discovery as many Nigerians viewed the action as an assault on their civil rights. The report by the social networking site titled,“Global Government Request Report,” however, shows the list of countries whose government requested for private data of their citizens on Facebook in the last six months as excluding Nigeria.
The report is the first from Facebook and it is not unconnected to a revelation from a former technical contractor and Central Intelligence Agency employee, Edward Snowden, who had raised the alarm that the United States government, under a programme codenamed PRISM, is monitoring Internet traffic through Google, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Yahoo and other websites.
Users of the social networking site across the globe besieged the Facebook page of Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, upon this statement from the former CIA employee and urged him not to disclose details of their online activities to their home governments.
Facebook stated that the Federal Government or any of its agencies had not requested for citizens’ account information in any official capacity relating to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings in the period under review.
It listed Egypt, South Africa, Uganda and neighbouring West African country, Côte d’Ivoire, as the African nations that sought basic subscriber information, such as name and length of being on the social network, IP address logs related to location and actual account content of their citizens’ activities on Facebook.
Eyes open, no secret is unleakabthi nowadays. Wonder where the freedom of information Lies?