Nigeria Closer To Bringing In Comprehensive Internet And Phone Spying System, Probably Complete With Third-Party Backdoors
from the now-would-be-a-good-time-to-think-again dept
One of the unfortunate consequences of the revelations about NSA spying on just about everyone is that it creates a false impression that such activities are really quite normal these days, and nothing much to worry about. This probably encourages nations that don’t carry out such comprehensive snooping on their populations to think about doing so. In Nigeria, for example, a proposal is making its way through the legislative process that would grant the Nigerian government wide-ranging surveillance powers, as reported here by Premium Times:
If given a third reading eventually, approved by the House of Representatives, and signed into law by the president, law enforcement agencies will have the powers to monitor and seize Internet and phone data-including emails, text messages, phone records and more — from several millions of Nigerians, a privilege many Nigerians fear will be abused.
Given what we now know about the NSA and GCHQ, those fears are obviously well founded. But it turns out that there is another interesting aspect of this move, which concerns the equipment to be used for the surveillance:
The bill came months after PREMIUM TIMES uncovered the federal government’s secret $40 million contract to an Israeli technology firm, which will provide the technical infrastructure and the skill to snoop on the digital activities of Nigerians.
The clandestine programme, awarded to Elbit Systems, with headquarters in Haifa, will allow the government spy on citizens’ computers and Internet communications and emails under the guise of intelligence gathering and national security.
In the light of the recent information about backdoors being placed in many key commercial systems, does anyone really doubt that the equipment to spy on Nigerians will have its own backdoors that the Israeli secret service can use to access the sensitive information gathered by the Nigerian authorities? Or that some or all of that will flow to the US and its allies? That’s maybe another good reason for Nigerian politicians to think twice before going ahead with these dangerous and disproportionate plans.