MP proposes usage licenses for social media users..feasible?



Tue, 02 May 2017 - 08:37 GMT


Tue, 02 May 2017 - 08:37 GMT

logos of social media platforms- Creative Commons via Flicker- Blogtrepreneur -RESIZED

logos of social media platforms- Creative Commons via Flicker- Blogtrepreneur -RESIZED

CAIRO - 2 May 2017: Is the access to social media a threat that requires a usage license? A bill will be brought before the House of Representatives on Tuesday seeks to impose such procedure on social media platforms in Egypt as a way to “crack down hate speech and content inciting violence.”

Lawmaker Riyad Abdel Sattar has collected 60 signatures to submit the draft law to the Parliament’s Secretariat on Tuesday.

The six-article draft law stipulates that any user should get a license to have access to social media. In addition, the Ministry of Telecommunication would create an administration to issue the licenses for free if users submitted their personal data.

As per the draft law, a comprehensive survey will be conducted on the users who will be given 6 months to send their IDs, e-mails, mobile numbers, and their social media handles to the state-owned Telecom Egypt. Afterwards, security bodies should ensure veracity of the users’ data, the lawmaker told Egypt today on Sunday.

Users, whose data was not codified, will be prosecuted and could be imprisoned if they do not have the license, he added. The joint committee will seek the possibility and the mechanism of controlling social media platforms; however, if it fails, the government can create its own platforms as China did, Abdel Sattar continued.

“The bill aims to prevent inciting violence through posts and tweets that target the country’s security and military institutions,” Abdel Sattar said.

Ahmed Refaat, another MP, suggested that social media platforms should be blocked during the Egyptian general elections.“Imposing controls on social media is ruled out.

Social media platforms are international companies and the government does not own them to impose controls or fees,” vice president of the Scientific Society of Telecom Engineers Omar Talaat told Egypt Today.

However, Talaat said, the government has the right to block these platforms to protect its national security, but cannot impose rules or controls on these services which are provided for the users for free.

The House of Representatives is considering another bill on anti-cybercrimes submitted to the Telecommunication Committee of the parliament in June 2016.

Moreover, the Ministry of Justice writing another draft law on cybercrimes, however, this draft law was not referred to the parliament yet.

Some social media users criticized Abdel Sattar on Twitter; ❀Poet❀Hassan Ibrahim tweeted “Riyadh Abdel Sattar, House of Representatives member for the Free Egyptian Party, in a side talk: ‘If you want to legislate Facebook accounts, invent # Facebook and legislate as you like.

Like Egypt, some countries have moved to crackdown on illegal content on social media in order to prevent dissemination of violent incitement; the Home Affairs Committee of the UK parliament issued a report on Monday saying that social media companies are far from taking down the illegal content and they care about the commercial reasons more than the safety.

The report recommended that the government should take legal actions via imposing fines on social media firms that failed to remove the illegal content.

In Germany, the government threatened that social media companies would be fined, as per a new bill, in case they failed to crackdown the hate speech and insults. The bill has been drafted ahead of the upcoming German federal elections, due to convene in September 2017.



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