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Nigerian Military’s Surveillance of Social Media Alarming- Paradigm Initiative

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The report that the Nigerian military has commenced monitoring social media activity of Nigerians has been in the news in the past few days.

This development might not be unconnected to the recent pronouncement by the Vice-President that hate speech will soon be considered an act of terrorism.

President Muhammadu Buhari also spoke along this line saying when he spoke concerning some distressing comments he encountered on Nigerian social media during his long medical vacation in London.

John Enenche, director of Defence Information, Major General while speaking recently during an Interview session on Channels television, stated that “The activities of Nigerians on the social media are now being monitored for hate speech, anti-government and anti-security information by the military”.

He went further to state, “What are we doing? In the military, we are now taking on it more seriously than ever. We have our strategic media centres that monitor the social media to be able to sieve out and react to all the ones that will be anti-government, be anti-military, (and) be anti-security. We tackle them appropriately with appropriate responses.

“Ahead of that, we are also proactive. We have measures in place, scientific measures to be able to sieve this information and also to get the public and let them know that some of this information they are getting is not genuine are not true and their objective is an anti-corporate existence of this country.”

These sentiments expressed by the Defence spokesman was echoed by the Twitter handle @DefenseMonitor, which was widely assumed to be a communications outlet for the Defence headquarters.

Thankfully, the Presidential Office for Digital Communications through their Twitter handle @DigiCommsNG has come out to denounce the @DefenseMonitor handle as fake.

As we wait for more facts to emerge, we at Paradigm Initiative are justifiably alarmed at this development and call on all other defenders of digital rights of Nigerians to join us in calling for caution. We contend that all measures taken to safeguard the security of Nigerians must also by default protect their digital rights such as privacy and freedom of expression online.

In response to these developments, ‘Gbenga Sesan, the executive director of Paradigm Initiative, said, “The statement made by the Director of Defence Information during the Channels television interview is worrisome. More troubling is the inability of the Defence Headquarters in following the Presidential Office for Digital Engagement in denouncing the tweets by @DefenseMonitor – tweets which essentially echo the sentiments of the Director of Defence Information. Merely disowning the twitter handle is not enough, the military must assure us by its words and actions that it does not share the sentiment expressed by the suspended twitter handle”

Speaking further on this, Tope Ogundipe, the director of Programmes of Paradigm Initiative, stated, “We urge for caution in light of this new development. While we await more information, the words of the Director of Defence Information and the sentiments echoed by the now denounced Twitter handle @DefenseMonitor are consistent with the experience of numerous Nigerians who have been arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression online. We maintain that the digital rights of Nigerians must be respected irrespective of any security measure implemented by the government”.

Lending his voice to the debate, Boye Adegoke, the program manager for Magoyi, Paradigm Initiative’s digital rights advocacy programme, added, “This new development follows a noticeable trend in Nigeria, where policies and legislation like the Cybercrime Law have been made by the ruling class to silence the voices of ordinary Nigerians. In response to this, over the years Paradigm Initiative has organized workshops and roundtables to sensitive the public and policy makers on digital rights. We are also working alongside our partners to pass the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, which seeks to safeguard the human rights of Nigerians online, into law”.

Although Paradigm Initiative very much supports any effort taken to safeguard the security of Nigerians, we contend that they must have a basis in the rule of law and must have the appropriate legislative oversight. Paradigm Initiative, therefore, calls on the Defence Headquarters to join the Presidential Office for Digital Engagement in denouncing the viewpoints expressed on the @DefenseMonitor Twitter handle.

Paradigm Initiative will continue to work to defend the digital rights of Nigerians. Digital rights like privacy and freedom of expression are important components of modern societies and must not be sacrificed on the altar of national security.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

FG Can Tap $13Bn New Tax Revenue with Digital ID Programmes

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Nigeria is seen generating $13 billion in additional tax revenue if she could digitalise her identification programmes.

 

This is according to a new McKinsey Global Institute report, which claims that high adoption of digital ID with the right principles can help unlock 3 percent economic value equivalent of GDP in advanced economies and as much as 6 percent in emerging economies on average.

 

The report, which offers a framework to understand the potential economic impact of “good” use of digital ID, analyzed nearly 100 ways in which digital ID can be used, with deep dives into seven diverse economies: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

 

“We estimate that Nigeria could use digital ID to expand the tax base to include informal income and reduce fraud and errors in tax filing to generate more than $13 billion in additional tax revenue. Nigerians could save 1.8 billion hours annually from efficient services that reduce the need for travel to and from government offices and filing of physical paperwork,” said Fiyinfolu Oladiran, a McKinsey partner.

 

Eyitope Kola-Oyeneyin, Nigerian-based Partner at McKinsey equally said the Digital ID potential for Nigeria is significant and that based on MGI estimates, Nigeria could capture economic value equivalent to 5 to 7 percent of GDP by 2030 from greater formalization, fraud reduction, increased tax revenue, and financial inclusion.

 

“Scaling Digital ID in Nigeria has to be a top priority for enabling inclusive growth,” he said.

 

Around the world, governments and businesses are implementing digital identification programmes with mixed results and adoption levels. Yet when carefully designed, “good” use of digital ID programs can help people participate more fully in their economy and society, which can create enormous economic value and inclusive growth, the report said.

 

“We find that three-quarters of the potential economic value of digital ID could accrue to individuals in Nigeria, making it a powerful key to inclusive growth, while the rest flows to private-sector and government institutions,” said Rogerio Mascarenhas, managing partner of McKinsey’s Nigeria office.

 

He added that the largely informal and self-employed workforce skews the overall benefits of digital ID toward individuals, who could receive 74 percent of the total overall value.

 

He started that Nigeria’s unmet financial needs are significant. 60 percent of the adult population, or about 64.5 million individuals, do not have a bank account and therefore may be cut off from access to credit or the ability to deposit income.

 

“The World Bank found that 18 percent of the unbanked population in Nigeria cited a lack of identification documentation as the primary reason for not opening an account. We estimate that increased lending to individuals and businesses resulting from an expanded deposit base could generate up to $21 billion in additional investment by 2030,” says Amuche Okeke-Agba, a McKinsey partner.

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FG restates Support for Galaxy Backbone eGovernance Programme

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Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation, has said that the the Federal Government will continue to support Galaxy Backbone Limited to ensure efficiency in its e-governance programme.

 

Willie Bassey, director of Information in the Office of the SGF in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said that the SGF stated this during a visit to the Galaxy Backbone.

 

Mustapha said the federal government had committed huge investments in the development of Information and Communication Technology sector of the economy.

 

He said efficiency and effectiveness in the sector would help deliver on government’s e-governance programme.

 

According to him, the training of 1,000 public servants on e-governance will enhance the efficiency and productivity of officers in the service.

 

The SGF said that Galaxy Backbone had recorded remarkable achievements in the development of ICT in the country.

 

He said that the achievements of the organisation would enhance the deployment of ICT to drive government programmes and policies.

 

Earlier, Yusuf Kazaure, managing director/chief executive officer of the Galaxy BackBone, said the organisation had covered 11 states and the FCT in its e-governance programme.

 

He said that the areas already covered were under the first phase of the programme, adding that efforts were on to commence the second phase which would cover the entire country.

 

He said with continued Federal Government support, the organisation would continue to deliver on its mandates.

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Gartner Predicts Global IT Spending to Grow 1.1% in 2019

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total US$3.79-trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1% from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

“Currency headwinds fuelled by the strengthening US dollar have caused us to revise our 2019 IT spending forecast down from the previous quarter,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Through the remainder of 2019, the US dollar is expected to trend stronger, while enduring tremendous volatility due to uncertain economic and political environments and trade wars.

“In 2019, technology product managers will have to get more strategic around their portfolio mix by balancing products and services that will post growth in 2019 with those larger markets that will trend flat to down,” said Lovelock. “Successful product managers in 2020 will have had a long-term view to the changes made in 2019.”

According to Gartner the datacentre systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8%.

The research and market analysis firm says this is mainly due to expected lower average selling prices (ASPs) in the server market driven by adjustments in the pattern of expected component costs.

The shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (non-cloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market.

In 2019, the market is forecast to reach US$427-billion, up 7.1% from US$399-billion in 2018. The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software.

However, Gartner expects increased growth for the infrastructure software segment in the near-term, particularly in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and application platform as a service (aPaaS).

Lovelock added, “The choices CIOs make about technology investments are essential to the success of digital business. Disruptive emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will reshape business models as well as the economics of public- and private-sector enterprises.

“AI is having a major effect on IT spending, although its role is often misunderstood. AI is not a product, it is really a set of techniques or a computer engineering discipline. As such, AI is being embedded in many existing products and services, as well as being central to new development efforts in every industry.

Gartner’s AI business value forecast predicts that organisations will receive $1.9 trillion worth of benefit from the use of AI this year alone.”

In November 2018 Gartner said IT spending in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) would reach US$973-billion in 2019, representing a 2% increase compared with 2018.

Lovelock was quoted at the time as saying: “2018 is not a good year for IT spending in EMEA. The 5.8% growth witnessed in 2018 includes a 4% currency tailwind driven by the euro’s increase in value against the US dollar.”

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