By the Blouin News Technology staff

Egypt’s surveillance didn’t fly with Facebook

by in Media Tech.

(Source: Sharif Hassan/flickr)

(Source: Sharif Hassan/flickr)

The confusion around why the Egyptian government failed to reinstate Facebook’s free internet service in January may have been cleared up. Two sources told Reuters that Facebook had refused to give Cairo the ability to spy on users.

To recap, earlier this year, Egypt shut down Free Basics — the controversial free, curated internet service that Facebook is trying to disseminate in several countries. Etisalat said its two-month permit for Free Basics expired, and Cairo insisted that its failure to renew it was not related to security concerns. Reuters is now reporting that two people with “direct knowledge of discussions between Facebook and the Egyptian government” said that the service was deliberately blocked because the company would “not allow the government to circumvent the service’s security to conduct surveillance.” They did not reveal specifics as to what type of access the government wanted or what exactly it wanted Facebook to change operationally…

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