Egypt: Increase in Censorship and Internet Users’ Privacy Violation
Said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information today that, “The Egyptian government imposed a new measurement which increases the extent of the censorship on Internet users, and violates their right to privacy. The new measurement obliges the tourist coffee shops, to keep the information of their visitors who uses the internet, including their names, email and phone numbers before they use the Internet. This privacy-abusive and censoring procedure become a wide spread reality.
The Egyptian famous blogger “Wael Abbas”, the owner of “ Alwa’i Al Masri” (Egyptian Awareness’s blog), wrote criticizing onset of applying this procedures two months ago, and warned of its expansion, which actually happened.
The coffee shops visitors who wish to use the internet now must have a slip from the coffee shop with a pin number, he should enter it in an electronic form, as well as his name, and mobile phone number as well as his email all these information are required, in addition to other optional information such as the city and date of birth.
According to this information which should be correct, the user receives a text message on his mobile phone to verify the information, only then one can access the internet.
This measurement seems as a weird business deal between the two companies (Mobinil Mobile Service Co. and Link Telecommunication Company) owned by the Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris as first part and the security apparatus as the second part, both may benefit of such transaction, in which several rights of internet user are subject to violation such as secure internet browsing and protection of internet and privacy.
“It is an ironic and irritating issue, now all are equal, the poor internet users who should provide their names, id numbers and the number of the computers they use in public net cafes, and the rich who use their own PCs and laptops in luxurious coffee shops, as well as the tourists. All are censored.” said Gamal Eid, the executive director of ANHRI.
This severely abusive procedure comes to prove the security policies that aims to impose constraints and censorship on the internet users with assistance of the Internet and telecommunications service companies, the issue that all of those concerned of the freedom of Expression and privacy protection should confront and counter by every and each possible legal way, they must also act for exposing it, and punish all of the companies that work together with the security or comply with in illegitimate practices to violate citizens’ rights in Egypt.