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African ICT Foundation Seeks End to Illegal Online Surveillance of Citizens by State and Non-State Actors

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The African ICT Foundation has called on state and non-state actors to end the Illegal surveillance, control and interception of online user communications describing it fundamentally detrimental to the security and reliability of the Internet.

 

According to the Foundation, every individual has the right to enjoy secure connections to and over the Internet.

 

Speaking at a two-day workshop on Digital Skills Empowerment for Undergraduates at the Abomey Calavi Universitie, Cotonou, which was organised by the Foundation, Regional Director of the Foundation, Repulic of Benin, Dr. Kossi Amessinou said: “Everyone has the right to communicate anonymously on the Internet, as well as to use the appropriate technology to ensure secure, private and anonymous communication.”

 

He noted that the collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal data or information must be in accordance with a transparent privacy policy that allows individuals to know what data or information is being collected about them and to rectify inaccurate information and to protect such data or information against disclosures that they would not have authorized.

 

The said that the Foundation demanded that the monitoring of communications must be authorized by the courts and individuals under surveillance must be informed as soon as possible after the conclusion of the surveillance operation that their communications have been intercepted stressing that mass surveillance must be prohibited by law.

 

Dr. Amessinou stated that African governments must work towards the adoption of the African Declaration of Internet Rights and Freedoms in your respective countries and seek the ratification and enforcement of all international and regional treaties related to the protection of human rights on the internet in your respective countries.

 

He stated: “Access to the Internet should be available and accessible to all in Africa without discrimination.

 

“Policies and regulations on Internet access and accessibility that promote equal and universal access to the Internet must be adopted.

 

“The cuts or slowing down of access to the Internet or parts of it for entire populations or segments of the public should not be allowed on any grounds.”

 

While advocating for full, active and equal participation of women in decision-making on the form and management of the Internet, he said that the Foundation is concern about the role of women and girls stressing that women and girls should have the means to take action against gender inequality on the Internet.

 

He said that it was time African nations eliminated all forms of gender-related discrimination against women and the girl child saying, “men and women should have equal access to learning, definition, access, use and configuration. of the Internet.”

 

He said: “The Internet governance framework must be open, inclusive, accountable, transparent and collaborative.

 

It is important that multi-stakeholder decision-making and policy formulation be improved at the national level to ensure the full participation of all stakeholders.”

 

According to him, the Foundation is concern about the right of all persons, without any discrimination, to use the Internet as a vehicle for the exercise and enjoyment of their human rights, and to participate in social and cultural life, should be respected and protected.

 

He noted: “States and non-state actors must respect and protect the right of all individuals to access and use the Internet.

 

“Everyone has a right to due process in connection with any legal claim or breach of law relating to the Internet.

 

“States must respect the right of every individual to equal protection before the law”.

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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NigComSat-1R, Nigeria’s Only Satellite to Expire in 7 Years

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NigComSat-1R, Nigeria’s only communications satellite will outlive its usefulness by 2026, meaning that the satellite will expire by then.

 

Recall that NigComSat-1, was designed and built by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) at a cost of $400m.

 

The satellite (NigComSat-1) which was put in the orbit in May 2007, was de-orbited in November 2008 following the development of power fault.

 

It was replaced in December 2011 with NigComSat-1R by the same company.

 

This NigComSat-1R, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited, managers of the satellite, has said will expire in the next seven years.

 

Mr Raji Kolawole, executive director, Engineering Services at NigComSat Limited, at the company’s resellers and channel partners at its Resellers Forum in Abuja, however said that the company was exploring avenues to acquire two more satellites as the government had directed it to explore private sector sources for the funds required for the construction of the additional satellites.

 

He said if properly utilised, the communications satellite also had the capacity to help the country to check the incidents of kidnapping and terrorism, which had become endemic in recent times.

 

Kolawole said, “The present satellite has about seven years to the end of life. For business continuity, we are collaborating with the private sector to acquire two additional satellites.

 

“The reason the Federal Government declared NigComSat1R as a national priority project is because of the navigation overly on our satellite, which basically is for security purposes, to curb kidnapping, terrorism and the likes.

 

“Now at the moment, we are working with security agencies to use the satellite to curb incessant kidnapping around the country.”

 

NigComSat-1R with a lifespan of 15 years, was launched into the orbit on December 19, 2011.

 

 

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Active Telecoms Subscribers Decreased by 72,782 in April – NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the active subscribers on the telecommunication networks reduced by 72,782 in April 2019.

The telecommunications regulator disclosed this in its Monthly Subscriber/Operator Data made available on its website on Tuesday.

The active subscribers on the telecommunications networks decreased from 173,713,842 in March to 173,641,060 in April.

According to the data, 173,383,803 of the 173,641,060 active users subscribe to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network services.

The GSM operators’ active customers figure reduced by 49,060 in April, after the 173,432,863 subscribers recorded in March 2019.

The report stated that out of the GSM operators, MTN had 64,732,167 users in April, showing a decrease of 302,448 from the 65,034,615 it recorded in March 2019.

Globacom’s figure increased in April by 117,053 with 46,380,756 customers, as against 46,203,703 in March.

Airtel had 45,433,300 subscribers in the month under review, which showed an increase of 194,965 users, from the 45,238,335 recorded in March.

9mobile recorded 16,720,146 customers in April, against 16,838,403 in March; having a decrease of 118,257 subscribers.

Visafone, which just migrated from the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) to the GSM network had 117,434 subscribers in the month of April, showing a decrease of 373 from its March record of 117,807.

The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators recorded no subscriber in the month under review, indicating a decrease of 4,460 from the 4,460 users in March 2019.

The only surviving CDMA operator, Multi-Links, had 4,460 in March, but lost all the subscribers in April 2019.

The monthly subscriber/operator data showed that the Fixed Wireless network (landline) consumers reduced to zero in April, as against 26,865 recorded in March.

One of the two landline networks, Visafone had lost all 26,437 March subscribers in April, while Multi-Links also lost all its 428 customers in the month under review.

It also revealed that the Fixed Wired operators (landline) subscriber base increased by 879; increasing to 108,033 users in April, as against 107,154 recorded in March 2019.

In the Fixed Wired arena, MTN Fixed moved from 5,449 users in March 2019 to 5,373 users in April, thereby decreasing by 76 customers.

Glo Fixed had 3,842 users in April, increasing by 1,053 customers from the March record of 2,789.

IpNX network moved from 2,221 subscriber base in March 2019 to 2,237 in April, hence, its customers increased by 16.

The report indicated that 21st Century Network had 96,581 customers in April, recording a decrease of 114 users from its March record of 96,695 subscribers.

It also showed that the two Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) networks had 149,224 active users in April, as their customers increased by 6,724 from their March 2019 subscriber base of 142,500.

Of the VOIP networks, Smile Communication had 144,619 customers, giving an increase of 7,372 users to its March result of 137,247.

Ntel had 4,605 consumers subscribing to its products and services in April, showing a decrease of 648 users from the March 2019 record of 5,253.

The regulatory body said that Section 89, Subsection 3(c) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 mandated it to monitor and report the state of the telecommunications industry.

“The commission is mandated to provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance.

“This is with a view to identifying areas where regulatory intervention will be needed.

“The commission regularly conducts studies, surveys and produces reports on the telecommunications industry.

“Therefore, telecommunications operators are obligated, under the terms of their licenses, to provide NCC with such data on a regular basis for analytical review and publishing,” NCC said.

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Wi-Fi Remains High-Performance Network Technology till 2024 – Gartner

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Wi-Fi will remain the primary high-performance networking technology through 2024, according to Gartner’s top ten wireless technology trends for enterprise architecture (EA) and technology innovation leaders.

Gartner claims new forms of wireless technology will become central to emerging technologies including robots, drones, self-driving vehicles and new medical devices over the next five years.

Nick Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, said: “Business and IT leaders need to be aware of these technologies and trends now. Many areas of wireless innovation will involve immature technologies, such as 5G and millimetre wave, and may require skills that organisations currently don’t possess.

“EA and technology innovation leaders seeking to drive innovation and technology transformation should identify and pilot innovative and emerging wireless technologies to determine their potential and create an adoption roadmap.”

After Wi-Fi, Gartner lists other key trends including 5G cellular, vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) wireless, long-range wireless power, low-power Wide-Area (LPWA) networks, wireless sensing, enhanced wireless location tracking, millimetre wave wireless, backscatter networking and software-defined radio (SDR).

5G cellular systems are starting to be deployed in 2019 and 2020 says the global market research and analysis firm.

The complete rollout will take five to eight years. In some cases, the technology may supplement Wi-Fi, as it is more cost-effective for high-speed data networking in large sites, such as ports, airports and factories.

“5G is still immature, and initially, most network operators will focus on selling high-speed broadband. However, the 5G standard is evolving and future iterations will improve 5G in areas such as the Internet of Things (IOT) and low-latency applications,” Jones added.

The absorption and reflection of wireless signals can be used for sensing purposes. Wireless sensing technology can be used, for example, as an indoor radar system for robots and drones. Virtual assistants can also use radar tracking to improve their performance when multiple people are speaking in the same room.

“Sensor data is the fuel of the IOT. Accordingly, new sensor technologies enable innovative types of applications and services,” Jones said. “Systems including wireless sensing will be integrated in a multitude of use cases, ranging from medical diagnostics to object recognition and smart home interaction.”

According to Gartner SDR shifts the majority of the signal processing in a radio system away from chips and into software. This enables the radio to support more frequencies and protocols.

The technology has been available for many years, but has never taken off as it is more expensive than dedicated chips. However, Gartner expects SDR to grow in popularity as new protocols emerge. As older protocols are rarely retired, SDR will enable a device to support legacy protocols, with new protocols simply being enabled via software upgrade.

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