REEDOM ON THE
Meanwhile, many fear that the draft 2010 Lawful Interception of Information Bill,
which was still
being deliberated in the National Assembly as of May 2013, may include provisions that will allow
voice and data monitoring. In February 2013, the NCC introduced a new draft Lawful Interception
of Communications Regulation,
which seeks to accomplish through secondary legislation what the
2010 bill has been slow to achieve. Still under discussion in May 2013, the regulation was criticized
for potentially infringing on the constitutional right to privacy, in addition to a lack of safeguards
against abuse or opportunities for redress, and unclear supervisory and reporting provisions.
There are no restrictions on anonymous communication online in Nigeria, though SIM card
registration with service providers has been required since June 2009.
The process of registering
existing SIM cards extended through mid-2012, after which point service providers were required
to cut off unregistered users. Cybercafes, on the other hand, do not require customers to register
or present any form of identification to go online, and monitoring software installed on their
computers is used only for billing purposes.
Thus far, the Nigerian security services have not appeared to proactively monitor internet and
mobile phone communications, but many online journalists have long suspected that they are being
monitored by the state. Suspicions of government intentions to monitor ICT communications were
confirmed in April 2013 when the online newspaper, Premium Times, published a news report
revealing that the federal government had awarded a secret contract to Israel-based Elbit Systems to
help monitor internet communications in Nigeria.
This finding was further corroborated by
publicly available details of Nigeria’s 2013 budget, in which the Office of the National Security
Adviser requested $61 million for a “wise intelligence network harvest analyzer system, open
source internet monitoring system, personal internet surveillance system” and “encrypted
Citizen Lab research also found a FinFisher “Command and Control”
server, which communicates with malware that can be used for surveillance, located on a private
ISP in April 2013.
Nevertheless, the extent to which such surveillance systems have been
implemented have yet to be established in May 2013.
International Law Office, “Intercepting Private Communications,” March 7, 0212,
Nigeria Communications Commission, “Draft Lawful Interception of Communication Regulations,” accessed February 10,
2013, http://www.ncc.gov.ng/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=328&Itemid; Ojo Madueke,
“Revealed: SSS, Police Have Powers to Tap Phone Lines,” This Day Live, January 30, 2013,
http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/revealed‐sss‐police‐have‐powers‐to‐tap‐phone‐lines/137851/; “Mind That Conversation:
Security Operatives To Tap Phones, Track E‐mail,” Naij, February 5, 2013, http://m.naij.com/news/22640.html; Ken Nwogbo,
“SSS, Police Get Powers to Tap Phones,” Nigeria Communications Week, January 29, 2013,
Kunle Azeez, “Concerns Over Proposed Lawful Interception Law,” National Mirror Online, May 23, 2013,
Nigerian Communications Commission and National Identity Management Commission, “Design, Development and Delivery
of SIM Card Registration Solution,” June 15, 2009, http://www.ncc.gov.ng/Archive/Headlines/SIM_Registration_RFP.pdf.
Ogala Emmanuel, “EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan awards $40 Million Contract.”
“Research and Development/Ongoing Projects,” in Office of the National Security Adviser 2013 Budget (Appropriation),
Federal Republic of Nigeria, accessed June 29, 2013: 10,
Morgan Marquis‐Boire et al., “For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying,” Citizen Lab, May 1, 2013,