Ethiopia uses system that spies on the Web|
Le Monde | June 11, 2012
A system for monitoring large-scale Internet material was quietly introduced in Ethiopia, using a technology that allows to spy on all Web communications in the country, reveals the daily La Croix.
The technology is to "scan" the data traveling over a network, directly without the intercept. Schematically, this is a little like reading the contents of a letter: the mail is not opened, but its contents have been read ...
Regularly endorsed by the advocacy organizations Human Rights (PDF), Ethiopia has experienced over the last three years, an impressive building of its legislative limit freedom of expression, notes Reporters Without Borders.
FIFTEEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR USING SKYPE
The government has particularly made jointly responsible for the printers that publish newspapers, and attempts to impose the establishment of printing contracts that would give power to a de facto censors printers - the main one being controlled by the state.
The government also banned the use of Internet phone service (VOIP), citing reasons of national security and protecting its monopoly. Using a service like Skype is theoretically punishable by fifteen years in prison. If cases of blocking of websites have already been reported in Ethiopia, they have so far been rare - probably because of the low rates of Internet access in the country."
"PGD allows for detailed monitoring of communications, filtering and custom sites," said Lucie Morillon, head of New Media Reporters Without Borders. "The fact that Ethiopia is endowed of such tools is not trivial, and this is symptomatic of a general trend, which also affects the freedom of the press."
OPERATOR ADVISED BY NATIONAL ORANGE
The IPR system was set up by Ethio Telecom, the country's sole telephone company, owned by the state. The company is following a reform launched in 2010 ETC, the incumbent, driving boards of Orange - Ethio Telecom's CEO, Jean-Michel Latute, is on leave from his contract with the French operator. He tells Cross that the establishment of the IPR system was a government decision, not the operator, but felt that this tool will be useful to Ethio Telecom to regulate traffic.
These links, even indirect, of the French company with an operator who sets up a monitoring system, have some teeth gnashing. "Should we help the country move forward technologically, even with censorship, and would one day happen to democracy, because progress always brings democracy?," asks the union CFE-CGC/UNSA. Or should leave it in the darkness?
OEMs and Chinese handset manufacturers are investing heavily in Africa, and Ethiopia is no exception to the rule. In 2006, three major Chinese companies, including Huawei, had signed contracts for $ 1.5 billion, including developing the mobile network in the country.
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