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Egypt’s police will monitor your online conversations

Egypt’s police will monitor your online conversations
Social media was seen as an important tool of dissent during the 2011 revolution
Social media was seen as an important tool of dissent during the 2011 revolution

Egypt’s incoming government seems to be tightening its grip on dissent by preparing to regulate social media.  Egypt’s security forces are currently looking to hire seven foreign companies to monitor Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber and other social media tools for dissent.

The story was first published in the local Egyptian newspaper Al-Watan, after the paper leaked a government proposal detailing a program aimed to “detect social network security threats and identify persons representing a danger to society.”

Egypt’s interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim released a statement claiming the regulation was intended to focus on developing Egypt’s security by monitoring criminal activity online.

The Minister added that the monitoring would provide the Ministry with information about illegal topics and issues against public morals and traditions.

Since the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi last July, violence along the Sinai has increased and the government believes the foreign companies can help track the movement of such insurgents.

It remains to be seen whether the monitoring of social media will be limited to terrorist activities as defined by international standards—since the Egyptian government has labelled the country’s biggest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization.

According to Al Ahram, the leaked government document highlighted Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as three seemingly high-risk websites that need priority data monitoring.

 “The proposal request also mentioned its need for creating a database for influential persons and persons of interests and registering their connections with others.”

Following the announcement of the monitoring, activists launched a hash-tag “We Are Being Watched” aimed at expressing concern with the move.

This is not the first time the Egyptian government has attempted to crack down on social media. After the dispersal of Raba’a last August, authorities in Egypt announced they would sentence anyone who posted the popular four-fingered symbol of solidarity on Facebook, to five years in prison.  However, no incidents of arrests or prosecutions over such photos were reported.

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  • Annette Barrow

    This is good news for National Security of Egypt and the people. I would also urge the government and interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim to also focus on some regulations and implementation of law enforcement powers of the misuse of social media networks, such as facebook, twitter, etc. of Harassment, Intimidation, Racism and Bullying that causes Fear, Alarm and Distress and in some cases emotional and psychological damage to the Victims. Law enforcement powers would help people that become victims of these incidents on social media by reassuring them that when they become the victims of any form of harassment, abuse, threats and bullying on the internet that the Egyptian police will help them by taking action against the abusers who commit these acts.

  • Guest

    This is good news for National Security of Egypt and the people. I would also urge the government and interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim to also focus on some regulations and implementation of law enforcement powers of the misuse of social media networks, such as facebook, twitter, etc. of Harassment, Intimidation, Racism and Bullying that causes Alarm and Distress and in some cases emotional and psychological damage to the Victims. Law enforcement powers would help people that become victims of these incidents on social media by reassuring them that when they become the victims of any form of harassment, abuse, threats and bullying on the internet that the Egyptian police will help them by taking action against the abusers who commit these acts.

  • Pingback: Comunicación, cultura y ciudadanía digital | La problemática del acoso sexual en las calles de Egipto y su migración de la esfera privada a la esfera pública()

  • Bystanding Witness

    Does this mean that Egypt is … “finally” … catching up with the rest of the political world; the most outstanding and known example being the NSA?

  • michael

    facebook is an organisation for the people to communicate with family and friend ,it is not fair to be monitored by government agencies or police !!!!!!

    • Hend

      Its already monitored, since the day it was actually created.

  • So long as innocent citizens are not victimised. Otherwise, it will be one step forward and two steps backwards for Egypt.

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