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SERAP Urges NCC to Reverse Directive to Block Phone Lines

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Dr. Aminu Maida, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) “to immediately revoke the apparently unlawful directive to network providers to bar the phone lines of millions of Nigerians who have linked their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers (NINs).”

SERAP also urged him to “restore the phone lines of these Nigerians, and to urgently establish a mechanism for effective consultation to provide Nigerians who are yet to link their SIM cards to their NINs with the appropriate support and infrastructure and adequate time and opportunity to do so.”

The Commission had recently ordered telecommunications companies to bar the phone lines of millions of citizens including those who allegedly “did not submit a good NIN or didn’t get a cleared or verified NIN by February 28.”

In the letter dated 9 March 2024 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The directive to the network providers to bar Nigerians who have linked their SIM cards to their NINs is an appalling violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, information and privacy.”

SERAP said, “No agency has the right to strip the citizens of their basic constitutional rights under the guise of failing to properly link their SIM cards with their NINs or failing to do so timeously.”

According to SERAP, “The blocking of phone lines of Nigerians must only be a last resort measure, and strictly in line with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], international human rights and due process safeguards.”

The letter, read in part: “The arbitrary barring of people’s phone lines is never a proportionate measure as it imposes disastrous consequences and severely hinders the effective enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights.”

“Blanket measures of barring the phone lines of millions of Nigerians are inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution and human rights treaties to which the country is a state party.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel the NCC to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“The arbitrary directive and the barring of the phone lines are extreme measures which must meet the strict legal requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality.”

“The NCC has also apparently failed to conduct an impact assessment of these extreme measures in order to avoid their arbitrary or excessive effects. These extreme measures go against the regulatory objectives of the Nigerian Communications Act and violate Nigerians’ fundamental human rights.”

“The NCC has clearly failed to abide by the Nigerian Constitution, human rights standards, democratic processes, the rule of law and due process safeguards.”

“There is no legal justification for the arbitrary barring of phone lines of millions of Nigerians, especially those who have linked their SIM cards with their NINs.”

“The directive by the NCC to telecommunications providers to bar the phone lines of Nigerians who have linked their SIM cards with their NINs amounts to unlawful, unnecessary, unjustifiable and disproportionate restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, information and privacy.”

“The NCC has a direct responsibility to respect the rights to freedom of expression, information and privacy and to take effective measures to protect these fundamental human rights against attacks by third parties such as network providers.”

“The NCC cannot use the pretext of responding to the security crisis in the country by adopting unlawful restrictions on constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights.”


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Nigerians Rush as Konga Slashes Prices of Starlink Satellite Internet Kits by 50 Percent

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Konga’s latest addition to its family of technology products, Starlink Satellite Internet Kits, has been met with overwhelming customer demand. The company is Starlink’s only authorised Shop-In-Shop eCommerce partner in Nigeria and provides immediate warranties on all Starlink kits bought from Konga.

Since the e-commerce giant broke the news of the price slash at 9pm on Tuesday night, shoppers in need of reliable, fast, low-latency internet services have trooped to konga.com to grab their share of the unbeatable deal on offer for the Space X engineered satellite kit. Until March of this year, the internet kits had been selling for N800,000 due to the devaluation of the Naira, and now go for N440,000 with the local currency regaining its strength.

As the clock races and limited stock runs out, our investigation confirms that those who purchased Starlink on Konga have begun to receive same-day delivery shipping for their orders in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Rivers State.

On its e-commerce website, the unprecedented surge in demand for the product saw web traffic triple in 4 hours as customers took advantage of the great pricing and seamless order process available via the authentic official Starlink store in Nigeria on Konga.

Konga is yet to reveal how many units of the product it will be releasing to the market at the current discounted price; however, insider reports indicate that there is limited stock available for a short time at this amount. For this reason, customers are encouraged to place their orders immediately.

According to the Head of Business for Konga’s commercial unit, Emmanuel Ekwedike, the online shopping platform always delivers deals that make sense. With the Starlink kits, while customers can buy online and have the orders shipped to their homes and offices nationwide, they can also visit any Konga retail outlet around the country to make an instant purchase.

In February, Konga announced the launch of Starlink kits on its platform with an initial selling price of N378,000 to great reviews. As the month advances, the excitement is still running high as users get high-end quality experiences from purchasing genuine kits and other products with global warranty at its retail outlets and online via the e-commerce portal.

Konga.com is Nigeria’s largest customer centric omnichannel online mall. It launched operations in July 2012 and is on a mission to become the engine of commerce and trade in Africa.

Starlink kits provide high-speed internet services to users around the world through advanced low-latency satellite technology, as a solution to internet disruptions caused by fibre cuts.


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New Salesforce-WhatsApp Integration brings Marketing and Service Conversations together

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Salesforce, the #1 AI CRM, announced the general availability of Unified Conversations for WhatsApp, which transforms one-way marketing promotions or service requests into dynamic, two-way conversations from a single WhatsApp number.

Instead of managing separate threads for promotions and support, customers can automatically receive personalised opt-in marketing promotions and individual support all within a single WhatsApp chat between a brand and customer.

This allows companies like Agibank to use data stored in Salesforce from across their more than 900 hubs within WhatsApp to deliver personalised loan proposals, resolve concerns faster, and better support customers — all in a single conversation.

Why it matters: Seventy-nine percent of customers expect consistent interactions across departments and 75% want to communicate with brands using messaging. However, businesses aren’t meeting these expectations. Customers report that disconnected experiences are their top frustration when dealing with an organisation.

Salesforce perspective: “With more than two billion people using WhatsApp today, Salesforce’s new Unified Conversations for WhatsApp enables brands to connect with their customers where they are and have a single, connected, and trusted experience,” said Steve Hammond, EVP and GM, Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

“This helps brands break down barriers across their company and build stronger relationships throughout their customer’s journey, including natural handoffs from marketing to service teams, by driving the right personalised engagement, no matter where they are in the customer journey, at the right time and in the right context.”

Go deeper: Unified Conversations for WhatsApp is powered by Salesforce Data Cloud. Data Cloud allows companies to bring all of their trapped data into Salesforce and build a unified customer profile across all products, services, and interactions. This allows marketers and service agents to work off the same, shared customer profile and provides them with the relevant context needed to deliver trusted experiences across both departments in a single chat thread.

Innovation in action: By combining marketing and service conversations together in Unified Conversations for WhatsApp:

  • Marketers can segment audiences and create content for marketing campaigns while giving service agents a window into customers’ interactions to provide recommended next best actions using a single WhatsApp number.

  • Inside one WhatsApp conversation, healthcare organisations can schedule, confirm, and provide follow-up support for procedures and appointments.

  • Financial service institutions can prevent fraud by offering a single experience in WhatsApp to proactively verify and provide assistance for unusual transactions.

  • Travellers can respond to personalised trip offers and book experiences through chatbot-powered prompts in WhatsApp.

 


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Meta to Blur Nude Photos on Instagram for Teen Safety

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Meta the owner of Instagram is introducing a new safety feature to help protect teenagers from seeing unwanted nude photos in their direct messages.

Meta to Blur Nude Photos on Instagram for Teen Safety

The feature will automatically blur out nude images if the recipient is identified as a teenager.

Meta said this safety measure is aimed at addressing three main problems.

First, teenagers sometimes receive nude photos that they didn’t ask for and don’t want to see.

Second, sending nude photos of teenagers, even if it’s the teenagers themselves sending them, can be against the law. And third, there are scams where teenagers, especially boys, are tricked into sending explicit photos and then blackmailed.

The tech giant is under mounting pressure in the United States and Europe over allegations that its apps were addictive and have fueled mental health issues among young people.

Meta said the protection feature for Instagram’s direct messages would use on-device machine learning to analyze whether an image sent through the service contains nudity.

Meta, the company that owns Instagram, will use this technology to detect nude photos in direct messages. If the recipient is flagged as a teenager based on their birthdate, the photo will be blurred, and a warning message will appear.

Attorneys general of 33 U.S. states, including California and New York, sued the company in October, saying it repeatedly misled the public about the dangers of its platforms.

In Europe, the European Commission has sought information on how Meta protects children from illegal and harmful content.

 

 


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