"Don't Allow 'Illegal' Government To Invade Privacy Of Sri Lankan Users;" UNP Writes To Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg

November 16, 2018
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim has requested the global tech giant to refrain from sharing confidential information on Sri Lankan social media users with "illegal" government. 
 
“It is vital that this information is safeguarded as the current illegal administration will most likely use it in ways legally prohibited," the letter said.
 
The full letter written by the UNP Chairman is as follows, 
 

"Events that have unfolded in Sri Lanka since Friday Oct 26th 2018 have provoked a grave threat to democracy and constitute a de-facto coup that bypassed the lawfully elected legislature in contravention of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. These events, which began by the President of Sri Lanka unlawfully sacking the Prime Minister Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe on 26th October 2018 and culminating in the dissolution of Parliament on 9th November 2018, led to mass protests by citizens, civil society organizations and democracy advocates in Sri Lanka against these unlawful acts.

The International Community have continuously expressed alarm and repeatedly called for the reconvening of Parliament; these include Mr. António Guterres the UN Secretary General, Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the US Department of Statement, and numerous other officials from many countries. On 13th November the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka granted a stay order against the dissolution of Parliament and Parliament reconvened on 14th November, where the illegally sacked Prime Minister, Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe demonstrated command the majority in Parliament.

However, due to continuing intransigent acts spearheaded by the President of Sri Lanka it, is virtually certain great uncertainty will prevail over the coming weeks until Parliamentary democracy becomes fully operational. During this interim period, the illegal administration headed by the President of Sri Lanka continues tight control of traditional media.

In this context, social media platforms constitute an essential means of communication for civil society, democracy advocates, and a vital medium for the free expressing of facts, views and opinions. It is very likely that officials from the current illegal administration of Sri Lanka headed by the President, Mr Maithripala Sirisena, may ask facebook for information on selected Sri Lankan users of facebook that should rightfully be private. Such requests may include information on named individuals, geo locations and other identification details of users who view and post on these pages. It is vital this information be safeguarded as the current illegal administration will most likely use these in ways which are constitutionally prohibited.

This request is made on behalf of the United National Party (UNP). The UNP is one of the two primary political parties in Sri Lanka. The UNP has a strong track record of facilitating and enabling economic growth and support for social media platforms as a continuing evolution in the Country. The UNP was, until the events of 26th October 2018, one of the constituent parties in government.

We thus urge facebook to refrain from sharing any information about Sri Lankan users of the platform with any officials of the illegal government of President Sirisena. Such a principled stand will further enhance confidence in facebook in Sri Lanka in the long run – as facebook would have stood on the right side of history and democracy during these troubled times."

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