Social media surveillance is unlawful: Ministry of Religious Endowments
Former Ministry of Religious Endowments Deputy Salem Abdel Galeel - YOUM7(Archive)

CAIRO: Former Ministry of Religious Endowments Deputy Salem Abdel Galeel said Tuesday that the surveillance on social media announced by the Ministry of Interior is “unlawful” because it violates privacy and freedoms, El-Balad reported.

Abdel Galeel told El-Balad that if the surveillance is to preserve security as the Ministry of Interior says, then the surveillance should be on suspicious people or people whom the ministry knows are planning a criminal act. “In this case, this is totally lawful because surveillance to prevent evil is lawful; anything except this is unlawful spying and a violation of freedoms,” Abdel Galeel said.

He also said that God said in the Quran “do not spy on each other” and this counts as evidence that spying is unlawful.

The Ministry of Interior announced Monday it intends to monitor social media websites as a step to preserve security and thwart any attempts that would threaten national security.

“We aim to hunt the bomb makers who target the innocent, we do not seek to interfere in anyone’s privacy,” Ministry of Interior Deputy Abdel Fatah Othman told Al-Mehwar channel Sunday.

Twitter users immediately created a hashtag that translates into “We are being watched” to mock the ministry and its proposed monitoring system. The satirical thread featured tweets and jokes making fun of “secret detectives on Twitter.”

Tweets included:

@JBMemphisBoy: “Since I’m being watched, it is not polite to leave my profile’s detective without offering him something to drink.”

@RodainaRabie: “I have a problem with my internet service; can you fix it please so you can monitor me?”

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