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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Parliament was apparently serious about passing legislation to monitor social media

LEGISLATION WATCH- Parliament was apparently serious about passing legislation to monitor social media: House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal referred yesterday a draft law to “regulate” social media platforms in Egypt to Parliament’s ICT and legislative committees for discussion, Al Shorouk reports. The legislation means to crackdown on social media subscribers who use these platforms for libel and slander, targeting Egypt in their posts, Rep. Bassam Fleifel, who drafted the law, told the newspaper. The law would grant prosecutors the authority to block certain social media accounts if they are found to be “harmful to national security” and would impose fines and prison sentences on individuals who create fake social media accounts.

The Cyber Crimes Act apparently wasn’t enough: Fleifel put forth this bill after it was made clear that the Cyber Crimes Act — which the House of Representatives approved last week — is not intended to allow to government to monitor or block social media platforms.

The bill reportedly would also see the establishment of a new “Egyptian Facebook,” but details on this portion of the legislation are scant, save for stipulations that would require users to be at least 18 and provide their national ID to create an account. (Guaranteeing its popularity…) ICT Minister Yasser El Kady had said earlier this year that Egypt is working towards creating its own Facebook-like social media network.

In what seems to have been a bid to cast the legislation in a positive light, Fleifel said he took inspiration from China. Yes, China — the same country that has a ban in place on Facebook (making it one of three countries on the face of this planet to do so), YouTube, Google, and around 8,000 other websites, in addition to WhatsApp…

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