NCC’s Proposed Regulations May Intercept Private Communications

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that it is putting a regulatory framework in place to enable security agencies to intercept personal communications, including phone calls and text messages that they have reason to believe put the lives of citizens or the security of a community at a risk.

Dr. Eugene Juwah, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC made this known in a statement which added that the Commission had commenced fine-tuning legal framework to ensure that the rights and privacy of telecoms subscribers are protected by the security agencies.

Dr. Juwah added that the NCC has made public inquiries, aimed at ensuring wide consultation in the enactment of regulations for the industry, on the lawful interception of communications regulations and licensing regulations as part of its rule–making process.

Without going into specifics, the statement said the proposed regulation also seeks to give security agencies power to intercept communications legally without any violation of the citizens’ privacy and rights.

Dr. Juwah said in the statement that: “The Draft Lawful Interception of Communications Regulations was aimed at providing legal and regulatory framework for lawful interception of communications in Nigeria as well as the collection and disclosure of intercepted communications.”

“It also specifies the nature and types of communications to be intercepted, penalties for non-compliance and measures to safeguard the privacy of citizens as contained in the constitution.

“These regulations shall complement the NCC Act and the obligations of law enforcement agencies and operators in connection with the interception of communications,”

He gave assurance that the regulation would provide the guiding standards and principles for an effective regime on lawful interception of communication and licensing in the telecommunication industry.