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Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles
government prepares to bug internet
July 30, 2004
The Zimbabwe government is planning to acquire high-tech equipment
from China for the purpose of bugging the internet. This is to enable
it to interfere with the flow of information it considers subversive
as well as the operations of independent internet based media outlets
sources within Posts and Telecommunications (PTC) and government
circles revealed that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
is already looking into ways of controlling internet communication
as soon as the equipment arrives.
The whole of
Zimbabwe has during the past weeks been experiencing intermittent
internet break-downs, which PTC management had failed to explain,
according to sources at the PTC.
said that there was work being done in upgrading or some security
measures being implemented. There are CIOs that seem to have been
permanently stationed at Tel One (the state owned hub for internet
providers) and were carrying out some surveys in the past weeks.
We understand that there are some Internet Service Providers (ISP)
who have agreed to cooperate with the CIOs and let them use their
domains for the tests with samples of equipment brought from China,'
a PTC source said.
the CIO said that the equipment from China is expected to be delivered
next month. Government would push for the promulgation of a law
allowing it to bug the internet for security reasons. President
Robert Mugabe announced during the opening of parliament last week
that government would introduce a bill in the house to give it powers
to control communication systems for the sake of 'tightening state
at the Chinese embassy in Harare, Nan Xiao, said he could not discuss
the matter. 'I can¹t comment on that issue of state security.
If the government of Zimbabwe is taking security measures it is
entirely up to them to announce them,' he said.
State for National Security Nicholas Goche also refused to comment.
'Do you think such issues are discussed in the media? Where have
you seen issues of national security being discussed in the media?'
Tel One recently
asked ISPs to sign commercial contracts obliging them to take 'all
necessary measures' to prevent the transmission of illegal material
at an ISP in Harare, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said government
would need the cooperation of service providers for it to be able
to control the internet even with state of the art equipment. Therefore,
the official added, it would be difficult for government to clandestinely
succeed in bugging cyberspace. Zim Online
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