Eritrea: Regime orders internet service providers to keep detailed records of their customers

(Asmara 06-10-2016) In a continuation of the draconian measures that the regime in Eritrea has been taking to control internet access and use in Eritrea, reported last month, security forces have this week introduced new stringent regulations asking all providers to keep detailed records of all their users.

The log kept on customers, will record full names, addressed, and identity card numbers of service users and equally applies to all customers including those that use their own devices such as mobile phones.

Eritrea is one of the least connected countries even by comparison to other East African nations and hence internet services are only available from the few providers in bigger cities like Asmara, Keren, Massawa and mendefera, however recent months have seen an expansion of relatively faster but expensive service at a cost of $1.33 per hour or 40Mb. This relatively expanded service has given many an opportunity to access information that was hitherto inaccessible to Eritreans, including many materials relating to political opposition to the regime. Activists in Eritrea believe the rise in political awareness is the cause to the renewed moves for vigorous control of Internet usage.

The new stricter rules also apply to users who were using services on their own devices from outside the building of the service providers, providing them relative freedom from prying eyes, notices to this effect have started appearing at internet cafes as have registration logs.

Freedom Friday (Arbi Harnet) activists today recoded and smuggled a short video clip showing the new regulation in action