In a recent report released by Facebook showing governments that had requested for user account information of some of its citizens in the first six months of this year, we were named. Our very own government of Uganda, the one we know and love, this one here, it made it into the report. We don’t just win gold medal after gold medal, we make it into reports from Facebook.
In this columnist’s mind, the only proper way for a nation to celebrate is by declaring a public holiday, so, let’s declare a public holiday. Joy all around. Cheer and goodwill. Spontaneous somersaulting on the streets everyone. Dance competitions on every corner.
This is big dear reader. First off, it means that our beloved government uses computers. Computers that work. Computers that aren’t old, with fat, off-white monitors that need to be slapped to flicker to life. Computers that aren’t loud enough for people in the next building to think that there’s an explosion every time you hit ‘Save’ and the PC starts processing your request. Computers with internet. Internet that works. Internet that works long and fast enough for you, the government worker, to open a Facebook page, choose to create a message, type out the message and send it to the US requesting for information about another Facebook user.
The report from Facebook goes on to say that our government requested that Facebook provide the user information of one person. The jury is still out on who it is. Is it Stephen Kiprotich? Did they, by any chance, want to look through his likes and get a better picture of the things he is into so that they’d get him an awesome gift he’d love? Is it Elias Lukwago? Did they want to look through the non-public photos he was tagged in? The groups he is in? The posts he comments ‘lol’ on? Is it a leader of the opposition? Did they want to know his birthday so that they do everything to ruin it?
There are other ways to get all this information without going through all the trouble of requesting Facebook. For one, they could walk up to the person, be nice to them, pamper them, take them for a government massage, state steam bath, four course meal, all those fancy things and then ask them for their password.