Lagos - Some communication and Technology (ICTs) experts on Tuesday expressed mixed reactions over the Federal Government’s plan to initiate an Internet spy contract with an Israeli firm.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the experts lauded the initiative while expressing concerns over the implementation and use of the facility.
Dr Peter Olayiwola, President Computer Forensic Institute of Nigeria (CFIN), noted that the action was a common practice in developed nations.
“Although governments in developed nations are mostly backed by their constitutions to spy on Internet usage for national security, the citizens are not happy with the development,” he said.
Olayiwola said even if the initiative is to be implemented, Nigeria does not have the enabling laws that would adequately protect Nigerians and its cyberspace.
“Even though it’s not a bad idea to monitor Internet usage to curb unscrupulous activities, it should be done in a way
that public privacy is be protected,” he said.
Mr Gbenga Sesan, an Internet specialist and Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, said regulating the Internet would automatically mean restricting the flow of information as well as its exchange.
“It would suppress people from being communicative and expressive; changing the way information is dealt with over
the Internet,” he said.
Mr Olawale Onibudo, Regional Sales Manager, Vconnect.com (Nigeria’s largest local search engine), said the initiative would protect businesses and individuals from fraud and defamatory activities.
“The initiative could also allow Information to be withheld from the public and make it not freely available as it is now.
“The information we access is invaluable and for a policy or act to come in and snatch that away, it could be the end
of the Internet as we know it,” he said.
Onibudo urged the Federal Government to hold a forum with stakeholders when formulating laws and policies for the proposed agency.
“This way, everybody will have a say in what will eventually become law and be better protected with their rights not infringed,” he said.
“This will create a positive environment for the agency and its activities.” (NAN)