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Sunday, May 12, 2013

BlackBerry Smartphone may be banned in Nigeria!!!

Blackberry services could be at risk of being
banned in the country as a new regulation by
the Nigerian Communications Commission,
NCC, will run counter to the technical
operating standards of the phone's distinct
National Mirror exclusively gathered
yesterday that the telecoms regulator was
working on a regulation, which would make it
mandatory for any licensee in the nation's
telecoms market to provide access to its
communications facilities for necessary
interception by the law enforcement agencies.
To be called 'Lawful interception of
communications regulations", the regulation,
which is currently at the draft stage, is based
on the need to provide a legal and regulatory
framework for the lawful interception of
communications in Nigeria and the collection
and disclosure of intercepted communication.
It will also specify the nature and types of
communications to be intercepted; prescribe
penalties for noncompliance with the
regulations; provide a notification to the
commission of all warrants issued, amended,
renewed or cancelled under the regulations as
well as ensure the privacy of subscribers as
contained in the Nigerian constitution. It was
gathered that Section 13 of the regulation
Protected or Encrypted Communications will
run counter to the technical operations of
By their designs and unlike other mobile
devices, Blackberry messages are encrypted
and where criminal investigation is required,
the law enforcement agents will face denial of
access to Blackberry network.
Specifically, Section 13 of the regulation
empowers the National Security Adviser, NSA,
and the State Security Service, SSS, to request
the disclosure of protected or encrypted
According to the regulation: "Where the
communications intercepted is an encrypted or
protected communication, the licensee shall
provide the National Security Adviser and the
State Security Service with the key, code or
access to the protected or encrypted
"Where the key or code is in the possession of
another person, the licensee shall be under an
obligation to request such other person to
disclose the key or code to the National
Security Adviser and the State Security Service
for the purpose of complying with a warrant."
The regulation, under Section 20, also
specifies the penalties for contravention.
However, Blackberry messenger, email and
web services are sent over an encrypted
network and the company maintains a strict
policy of non-disclosure of pass codes or keys
to government officials.
Last year, officials of Blackberry said the
Blackberry users in Nigeria were about three
million and these individuals face an uncertain
future in case of possible revocation of
Blackberry licence by the regulator, given its
stern position not to release the key to its
encrypted network to any government
Blackberry has continued to face widespread
concern over its strong data encryption, which
is beloved by corporate customers eager to
guard secrets, but troublesome for some
governments in the Middle East and Asia that
it could be used by militants to avoid
It also gathered that the NCC's current move
was in line with strategic measures of the
Federal Government to ensure maximum
national security by providing a legal
framework that empowers the law
enforcements agencies to access any licensed
communication network in the country.
Exclusive from

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