Egypt: Security Officers continuous confiscating Digital Devices

The Security Officers escalates their attacks on online activists, specifically bloggers. Today 08 August 2009, the Egyptian Blogger Wael Abbas was stopped while his coming back from Beirut, and confiscated his CDs, flash memories and camera memory cards. It should be mentioned that this is the second time for Abbas to be stopped by the security officers, from almost one month Abbas was detained at the airport and his laptop was confiscated.

6 comments

  • Hi Ramy,

    Thanks for posting on these important matters. I have been trying to find out which role the Egyptian ICT companies are playing in providing the government surveillance tools. I came across the Egypt ICT-security provider Softlock, http://www.softlock.net/default.asp, which is one of the biggest in Egypt, as well as Syria and Morrocco. Do you know if they are involved in providing technologies for the government to survey bloggers? Thanks again a lot for your postings.

  • Hello Andres,
    You are raising very important issue, actually we aren’t sure 100% of the ICT companies providing the Egyptian government surveillance tools and we can’t even predict, because simply there isn’t clear evidence or proof. But for sure, the Egyptian Security Intelligence and Security State will take all possible passes in order to censor, and sometimes the ICTs will have to provide help to avoid any problems. Thank you for the question.

  • Hi Ramy,

    Thanks for your response. Apparently Softlock is developing new ID-security cards with fingerprint recognition, which provides administrators with a personal track of log-in activity on computers. Softlock will distribute this product to both private and government agencies, and the demand for the cards from the government will likely grow following the implementation of what is reffered to as the Digital Signiture Act (I dont know the proper name for it). This act manadates government agencies to use an ID-card (or the Smart Token), such as the model that Softlock produces. Softlock expect the law to pass soon – possibly later this year and has partnered with the Ministry of Communication, Egypt to provide the computer ID-cards.

    I am continuing to try to look into more details about the implications for privacy with the introduction of this new technology and would be glad to hear if anyone has information about the pending “Digital Signiture Act” or other related issues.

    Thanks for posting and listening to this long post.

    Best,
    Anders

  • […] was stopped by security officers at Cairo airport while his coming back to Cairo. From his last two experiences, Abbas didn’t travel with his laptop or CDs, flash memories and camera memory cards, since they […]

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  • […] harassed when leaving or backing to Egypt by being kept in the police office at the airport, then confiscating his laptop, later on the confiscation was to include all digital devices he […]

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