Cleaning Her Way Towards Opportunity

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She’s young. Very young. We hired her as a cleaner when it became clear that the new office needed someone to look after it through the day, especially as there was now a lot of human traffic through the Ajegunle Innovation Centre – parents seeking opportunities for their kids, students who come in daily for 7 weeks to learn new things that could turn their lives around, young people who just want to check out what was so important that their colleagues went through the rigour of interviews. Tinuke didn’t come across as one with a lot of confidence. Actually, she lacked confidence and you could see through it. But she was just a victim of the lack of opportunity that Paradigm Initiative Nigeria is working hard to at least make a dent in – and continue to chip away at the alarming numbers. When we hired her, she didn’t bother to tell us that she had gone through training at an ICT Centre, and that she actually did teach. Yes, she didn’t bother trying to pick up a job with that skill and grabbed the opportunity she could get.

I’ve seen a lot of that. People don’t bother looking for matching opportunities because 54% of the other young people out there are unemployed, and they will accept a much lower pay to edge others out of the competition for the few spots that open up. At one point, a graduate attended the interview for our Ajegunle.org program but hid what you would think was his competitive advantage. He knew it was a program for folks who, among other things, have not had a chance at tertiary education and didn’t want his degree to disqualify him from a program that could offer a 3-month (or longer) internship that might just be his entry to the world of work that had eluded him for over 3 years after he was told by his Vice Chancellor that he had been found worthy, in character and in learning, to join the labour force. He didn’t get a job, like many others, so he lowered the bar to start from anywhere. Chances are that the security guard you were rude to last week holds a BSc but ate the humble pie as he keeps searching for that better opportunity. I don’t think this was Tinuke’s deliberate approach, but she is also a lot more powerful than the position she accepted.

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As she cleaned the training room, she showed interest in more than just keeping it neat. After asking her about her plans for tertiary education, I’d think to myself: she should join the next set of students so she can pick up skills that could set her up for much more. Little did I know that she would one day walk into the class to train the students she was cleaning up after. Tinuke is no longer just the cleaner who had to keep every stain off, she is now the tall lady who puts students through on those computers she still cleans. Of course, she won’t be there for much longer as she has now taken the bold step of showing interest in an opening to do what she had been doing on the side – assisting our program lead with making the Ajegunle.org experience much better. Just before the staff evaluation exercise at our recently concluded staff retreat, other members of the team confirmed the need for her to step up, “come out of her shell” and show much more confidence. I took time to tell her in person, when she sat alone with me to give honest feedback that could help us at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria in our desire to be a much more desirable place to work.

Tinuke is work in progress, as I am. As you are too? Well, I thought it was just me. And Tinuke. LOL. I won’t be surprised when she goes on to become much more than she was ever given a chance to be, and I am extremely glad that Paradigm Initiative Nigeria is able to add value to the students that walk through our doors – and the young men and women who work very (read that as VERY) hard to make sure that our program beneficiaries get a chance to improve their lives. Our vision is summarized by ICTs + Youth = Socio-Economic Opportunities and it is the work that people like Tinuke and the other team members do that allows us to hit the nail on the head. But this isn’t just about a young woman who is climbing higher on the ladder of opportunity, it’s also about what she has taught me. Tinuke has reminded me again that it’s okay to start really small and grow, and to never allow the smallness of the space you currently occupy take away the sight of that big vision. Thank you, Tinuke, and all the best with the rest of your career journey.

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Security vs Freedom: Update on Internet Freedom and Communication Privacy in Nigeria

Military History and Clampdowns

On January 15, 1966, Nigeria’s 6-year old post-colonial democracy was truncated by a military coup. What would be the country’s first phase of military rule lasted until October 1, 1979, when General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over to a democratically elected Shehu Shagari. On the last day of 1983, General Muhammadu Buhari resumed the second phase of military dictatorship that survived until May 29, 1999. The years of military rule saw huge oppression of citizens and massive clampdown on the media and civil society.

Civil society leaders fled to exile. Media institutions that chose to report the news as it happened faced threats, attacks and even death. Every dissenting voice was billed for squashing until various events led to the re-emergence of democracy in Nigeria. In the same year that the military handed over the leadership of Nigeria and the nation joined other nations across the world to practice democracy, a Constitution (for the Federal Republic) with provisions for citizen rights returned as a supreme instrument.

Among other provisions, Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) makes a very strong case for citizens’ rights to privacy: “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.” Though Nigeria returned to democratic rule, this provision has not been perfectly respected. In fact, military-style provisions like “Official Secrets” and “Sedition” were popular until a Freedom of Information law was finally approved in 2011.

Threats to Privacy and Freedom

For a long time, Nigeria has seen various degrees of unrest around various regions of the country. In the South East, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) recently gave a sit-at-home order. The South West’s Odu’a People’s Congress (OPC), that has morphed into something close to a vigilante group, was once dreaded for its activities.

Militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta area were probably the most popular for their hold on the State until the North East started seeing terrorist acts by Jama’atu Ahlisunnah Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram. Following a bomb blast at the venue where the 50th independence anniversary of Nigeria should have held, in October 2010, and other terrorist activities, the Nigerian State began activities that were borderline illegal as far as the privacy and freedom of citizens are concerned.

A Telecom Facilities Lawful Interception of Information Bill was introduced in the National Assembly in 2010 but as with many legislative needs in Nigeria, the bill did not enjoy much traction before the 6th Session of the Assembly completed their term in May 2011. In 2013, the telecommunications regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission, introduced Draft Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations, which sought to achieve, through secondary legislation, what the Lawful Interception Bill was slow to achieve.

Considering the constitutional provision that protects the privacy of telecom users, various groups kicked against the act. Groups asked the Government to do the right thing by subjecting any such regulation to the rigour of legislative processes. At about the same time, an online newspaper, Premium Times, revealed that the federal Government had awarded a secret contract to Elbit Systems – to monitor Internet communication in Nigeria.

In May 2013, an online technology newspaper, Technology Times, revealed that DigiVox, a company that specializes in lawful interception services, listed the Nigerian State Security Service and all private telecommunications operators in Nigeria – MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, Glo – as its clients.

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s (Ongoing) Intervention

With support from the Citizen Lab/Munk School for Global Affair’s CyberStewards Program and Internews’ Global Internet Policy Project, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) strengthened its focus on ICT Policy in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2013. This put the organization in a good position to fill an existing vacuum in advocacy for Internet Freedom in Nigeria.

Beginning with a Freedom of Information request that was not responded to after the mandatory seven (7) days, PIN commenced a targeted advocacy effort that has now evolved into the application for an “order of mandamus” through a Federal High Court in Abuja. The court is yet to set a date for ruling as at the time of submitting this abstract to the Connaught Summer Institute on Monitoring Internet Openness and Rights.

PIN also continues to consult widely with stakeholders including the National Assembly, Ministry of Communication Technology, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), technology enthusiasts, Internet users and some security agencies. A Policy Brief titled Nigeria: Making A Case For Enduring Internet Freedom was published on May 29, 2013, and has been widely distributed.

The National Assembly has announced that its Information and Communication, Security and Human Rights committees will jointly investigate the secret contract awarded to Elbit Systems, and PIN has been invited to follow the proceedings, which could start before the summer institute convenes in Toronto in July 2013. PIN also worked with a group of 10 other CSOs to release a joint statement on the need for government to follow due procedure in its attempt to monitor private communication in the name of keeping citizens safe from terrorism.

PIN has enjoyed tremendous media support in the advocacy work, which has been further helped by the ongoing global discussions on the issue of citizen surveillance, and particularly PRISM in the United States of America.

Remote Participation: Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) 2013

The Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) 2013 will be held on Tuesday 18th June 2013 at the Shehu Yar’adua Centre, Abuja. If you will not be present at the event, you can join remotely with the online WebEx information provided by the Nigerian Chapter of Internet Society below:

WEBEX DETAILS
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Topic: Nigeria Internet Governance (NIGF) 2013 – Opening Session [Note the time and link change]
Date: Tuesday, 18. June 2013
Time: 09:00 – 10:00 AM
Meeting Number: 924 212 463
Meeting Password: NigIntGov2013

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To join the online meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
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1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229597692&UID=0&PW=NNTQ0ZDNlZDc0&RT=MTYjMjM%3D
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: NigIntGov2013 4. Click “Join”.

To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link:

https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229597692&UID=0&PW=NNTQ0ZDNlZDc0&ORT=MTYjMjM%3D

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To join the audio conference only
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Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-479-3208 Global call-in numbers: https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/globalcallin.php?serviceType=MC&ED=229597692&tollFree=0

Access code:924 212 463

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For assistance
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1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/mc
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), click this link:

https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229597692&UID=0&ICS=MI&LD=1&RD=16&ST=1&SHA2=AAAAAtCf1EPbeCrwCWkapzgFBxIcRGBL9GP/2gNb9eeMT0dy&RT=MTYjMjM%3D

2. General Sessions 12.00noon – 1.30pm

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WEBEX DETAILS
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Topic: Nigeria Internet Governance (NIGF) 2013 – General Sessions
Date: Tuesday, 18. June 2013
Time: 11:30, Europe Summer Time (Paris, GMT+02:00)
Meeting Number: 925 651 034
Meeting Password: NigIntGov2013

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To join the online meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
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1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229480972&UID=0&PW=NZmM0MDMwN2Q2&RT=MTYjMjM%3D
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: NigIntGov2013
4. Click “Join”.

To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link:
https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229480972&UID=0&PW=NZmM0MDMwN2Q2&ORT=MTYjMjM%3D

——————————————————-
To join the audio conference only
——————————————————-
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-479-3208
Global call-in numbers: https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/globalcallin.php?serviceType=MC&ED=229480972&tollFree=0

Access code:925 651 034

——————————————————-
For assistance
——————————————————-
1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/mc
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), click this link:
https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229480972&UID=0&ICS=MI&LD=1&RD=16&ST=1&SHA2=AAAAAlS50EAojNHNsNznNNXuHTIjluJrtQ-g-aPtTCRk/aAg&RT=MTYjMjM%3D

3. Way Forward (Youth Workshop) 11:35am -3:00 pm

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WEBEX DETAILS
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Topic: Nigeria Internet Governance (NIGF) 2013: Way Forward (Youth Workshop)
Date: Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Time: 11:15 AM to 3:00 PM
Meeting Number: 925 987 794
Meeting Password: NigIntGov2013

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To join the online meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
——————————————————-
1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229554857&UID=0&PW=NOTViNzA0OTcy&RT=MTgjMjA%3D
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: NigIntGov2013
4. Click “Join”.

To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link:
https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229554857&UID=0&PW=NOTViNzA0OTcy&ORT=MTgjMjA%3D

——————————————————-
To join the audio conference only
——————————————————-
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-479-3208
Global call-in numbers: https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/globalcallin.php?serviceType=MC&ED=229554857&tollFree=0

Access code:925 987 794

——————————————————-
For assistance
——————————————————-
1. Go to https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/mc
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), click this link:
https://isoc.webex.com/isoc/j.php?ED=229554857&UID=0&ICS=MI&LD=1&RD=18&ST=1&SHA2=AAAAAtzKoiQrelw3ZyNXQzWuYLJFY16gnMLFKzFrYkQcOn/a&RT=MTgjMjA%3D

CSOs: Government Should Respect Internet Freedom and the Privacy of Citizens Online

Government Should Respect Internet Freedom and the Privacy of Citizens Online

By Civil Society Organizations Working on ICT for Development Issues in Nigeria

The Nigerian media space has recently been awash with news of a multi-million dollar Internet surveillance contract, ostensibly intended to enable the government monitor internet communications of citizens. According to the Nigerian online newspaper, Premium Times, the Nigerian Government had signed a $40 million contract with an Israel-based company, Elbit Systems, to monitor internet communication in Nigeria.

Another report, titled “Stop, Jonathan, Stop – Before Nigerians Lose Their Internet Freedom“, reveals that, “…it was reported that Nigeria set aside $61.9 million for ‘Wise Intelligence Network Harvest Analyzer System’, Open Source Internet Monitoring System, Personal Internet Surveillance System And Purchase Of Encrypted Communication Equipment.”

It further explains that although “…the act of surveillance, for the purpose of ensuring national security, might appear noble, it is important to explain how lazy governance is at play again, in what could take Nigeria many years back into the military era when surveillance became a tool of oppression by the State.”

So far, the government has not denied the story of the contract award. Instead, its silence on the matter would appear to be a confirmation of the contract deal, which raises a number of serious concerns, including the following:

1. Such Internet surveillance is a rude, undemocratic and illegal violation of the privacy of citizens. The government must protect the privacy of all citizens and this should not be violated through such unwarranted surveillance of all technology-mediated communication; such as communication with friends and loved ones by email, SMS and chat;

2. It is huge waste of public resources with absolutely no return on the investment because as an open platform, the Internet has a reasonable amount of safeguards against criminal uses. In addition, the current legal instruments – if effectively employed – provide for adequate non-intrusive surveillance of suspected criminals;

3. It is a monumental waste of efforts in addressing security challenges because criminals who use the Internet for criminal purposes usually deploy sophisticated encryption technologies for which the surveillance of mail reading and interception of other communications would disproportionately affect the average and less technically-sophisticated citizen;

4. The contract is a total negation of the local content principle that the government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been promoting and which is necessary for the repositioning of the national economy to achieve the goals of Vision 20:2020;

5. If government is interested in fighting cyber crime, it would focus its attention on legislating specific and better targeted cybercrime related laws that have been waiting for government action at various stages.

We acknowledge the importance of the Internet as a platform for governance, education, commerce, and indeed for all social engagements. We also acknowledge the fact that Nigeria is currently passing through a major security challenge. However, this challenge cannot be addressed by unwarranted intrusion on the privacy of citizens which only promises to lead to the abrupt collapse of the digital economy in the country and the wiping out of the benefits gained from the internet.

The measure itself is a flagrant violation of the constitutional guarantee of the privacy of citizens as provided for in Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates in very clear terms that “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”

The only permissible circumstances under which this right may be restricted are those stated in Section 45(1) of the Constitution, which means that the measure taken must be in accordance with a “law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society” to protect the stated interests or the rights and freedoms of other persons. We fail that see any such law being relied upon in the award of the illegal surveillance contract.

In view of these, we the undersigned, as representatives of our respective organizations that are committed to the use of ICTs for development:

1. Unequivocally condemn the contract and call on government to immediately cancel it;

2. Demand that the Federal Government works with the National Assembly to take legislative action on various draft laws and regulations as well as pending bill relevant to the issue and that the process should be fully transparent with adequate opportunity given to all interested parties and stakeholders to make inputs into the process.

3. Enjoin the government to work with all stakeholders to curb cyber crime and address security problems, arising from the use of the Internet, within the context of democratic norms and principles and in accordance with international best practices of protecting the privacy and human rights of citizens.

Signed by: BudgIT, Centre for Information Technology Awareness and Development (CITAD), Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), Development Information Network (DevNet), Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation (FF), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Wennovation Hub, West African NGO Network (WANGONeT) and Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC)

[Draft Statement on Internet Freedom/Communication Privacy in Nigeria by ICT4D CSOs]

[Tweets] On Internet Surveillance Contract for Nigeria

Nigeria: Pardon for GEJ’s former oga at the top…

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, granted Presidential Pardon to his former Oga At The Top, and one of his aides was quick to shift the blame to the Council of State. Well, here’s what the constitution says. And more…

2013 Cyber Dialogue Conference. And Blogs You Should Read!

The Cyber Dialogue conference, presented by the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, convenes an influential mix of global leaders from government, civil society, academia and private enterprise to participate in a series of facilitated public plenary conversations and working groups around cyberspace security and governance.

Governance without Government in Cyberspace?

As cyberspace continues its rapid growth, embedding itself deeper into everything around us and helping to shape our identities, the models, norms, rules, and principles which have until now governed the US-anchored Internet are coming under stress. As cyber demographics shift to the global South and East, alternative models are being developed outside of the Internet’s old North Atlantic core. New rules and norms are spreading as practices grow and diversify. How to govern cyberspace in our intensely globalized world has become an acute public policy issue, for us all.

In the third annual Cyber Dialogue, participants will address questions around the theme of “Governance without Government in Cyberspace?” Phrased deliberately as an open question, we shall interrogate what are the proper roles and limits for public and private authority in cyberspace across a range of fundamental issues. What power can states, private companies, and civil society exercise in this domain? What is the appropriate balance of power among the increasingly diverse set of cyber stakeholders, from the local to the global? Who, and whose values, will set the stage for the future of cyberspace governance? What are the checks and balances?

Blog Posts (from leading experts)

Facing the costs of an open Internet – by Karl Kathuria

Democratic state surveillance, transparency and trust – by Andrew Clement

Against Hypocrisy: Updating Export Controls for the Digital Age – by Danielle Kehl and Tim Maurer

Watching the Watchers: A Role for the ITU in the Internet Age – by Jonathon W. Penney

WCIT-12: The Shadow at Evening rising – by Alexander Klimburg

Hacking back, signaling, and state-society relations – by Adam Segal

Arms Trade as Analogy – by James Lewis

Global Governance and Cyberspace: Fortresses or Oases? – by Paul Meyer

A Scene from the Road to Cyber Governance: The Budapest Cyberspace Conference – by Roger Hurwitz

Culled from the 2013 Cyber Dialogue Conference website.

Mapping tweets in Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, Tunis, Accra, Addis Ababa, Mogadishu and Kigali

In Mapping Tweets in Africa, Simon Rogers wrote:

Who uses Twitter in Africa – and where are they based? Mark Graham and the team at the Oxford Internet Institute have looked at Tweets from key African cities – and the variation tells you a lot about access to technology across the continent. Just look at the variation between Johannesburg and Mogadishu. The data is not normalised for population but it still provides a unique insight.

I’ve used screenshots of the maps created by Mark Graham and Floating Sheep to re-create a single image, below, that allows you see the difference between the cities. The maps represent Johannesburg (row 1 left), Lagos (row 1 right), Nairobi (row 2 left), Tunis (row 2 right), Accra (row 3 left), Addis Ababa (row 3 right), Mogadishu (row 4 left) and Kigali (row 4 right).

Mapping tweets in 8 African countries