Nigeria's satellites concern digital rights group

GIOVE BNigeria's satellites concern digital rights group. (Image source: Aickanehko Hatania/CommonsAn ICT advocacy group, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), has called upon the Nigerian government to release details on planned satellites which have been reported by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to have "eavesdropping capabilities" 

PIN has called on the Nigerian government to release more details on its plan to build and launch two satellites which NCC insiders claim to have "eavesdropping capabilities." The source are also reported to have said that "what this means is that things like voice calls, video calls, e-mails can be captured." 

According to IT Web Africa, PIN's Executive Director Gbenga Sesan said not much information is available on the planned satellite launch except that it will set Nigeria back by US$10bn, and that one of the satellites is expected to have the capability to "capture signals from all telecommunication installation in areas it is tasked to cover".

He adds that, "Nigeria currently has 2 satellites [Nigeria Sat 2 and Nigeria Sat X] that came after the ill-fated Nigeria Sat 1 that was allegedly "parked in space", and while the space agency always talks about using satellites for "security, delineating electoral constituency, agriculture, climate change, mitigation of disaster and environmental monitoring," there isn't much proof that such have been done excellently well so far. For us, technology should support socio-economic opportunities and not threaten [digital] rights."

In PINs letter to the Minister of Communications, which was released on 2 February 2017, the group wants the Nigerian government to provide all the details involved in the building and launching of the two new satellites so that every stakeholder, including the Ministry, would be able to act as watchdogs for the digital rights of citizens - in order to ensure that the scaling up of the number of satellites in space is done with utmost regard to these rights.

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