Facebook- photo via pixabay
CAIRO – 3 June 2017: The Ministry of Interior does not monitor private Facebook accounts and adheres to the constitution which respects and protects people’s privacy, said the head of the Ministry of Interior’s department for fighting computer and information network-related crimes to Egypt Today on Friday.
There are about 45 million internet users in Egypt and the ministry only tracks accounts related to suspected crimes, following the crimes themselves and not specific people, he clarified.
The director also stated that any monitoring process follows the legal channels and the ministry does not proceed unless it has the necessary permission from the Public Prosecution Office. He noted that there are no recorded cases of an individual claiming a legal violation of sanctity or private life and that the ministry only follows public Facebook posts and never private accounts.
The director added that the department has been keen to control the phenomenon of leaking school exam papers online which has proliferated over the last few years. The department, in coordination with other state agencies, monitors Facebook pages that invite parents to join and receive the leaked exams to supply to their children. The creators of these groups then use this as leverage to blackmail Egyptian families and it is the ministry’s role to combat this crime.
Internet crime is regulated by Egypt’s anti-terrorism law issued in 2013, as well as older legislation such as the penal code and communications law. Article 40 of the criminal penal code equates incitement to a crime with committing the crime itself. Article 174 imposes a five-year jail term on anyone who incites hatred against the regime, promotes ideas to change constitutional principles or change essential systems by force, and any individual who threatens government security. Articles 176 and 177 put penalties in place for inciting hatred against certain groups if this incitement affects public order or invites the violation of laws. However, the term "incitement" is not defined in Egyptian law.