Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Big Brother is watching

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Internet security remains a major talking point what with the PRISM controversy where the US government snooped on virtually everyone’s internet traffic.

I recently participated in a training workshop in South Africa themed around protecting ourselves from cyber spies who apparently are now making themselves permanent features in the World Wide Web.

It was instructive that the monitoring of private online conversations has become a matter of concern as Zimbabwe heads for polls amid reports that the former ruling party is pulling all the stops bringing in Chinese and Israeli internet minds to launch an assault on people using cyber platforms to “push the regime change agenda.”

And the presence of characters like Baba Jukwa has made issues of internet security even more pertinent in the aftermath of claims that Zanu PF was hacking into the Facebook page in a bid to unmask BJ.

Yet not many people will consider internet security as something of major concern.

Ours is a country that has become a very bad model of freedom of information and freedom of expression where a simple political comment is enough to get you into trouble, yet as we celebrate social media and how it has provided space for conversations about political developments, it still remains open to snooping by a paranoid State.

The workshop I attended brought insights into a multitude of security options, yet like everyone else who attended, I found it amazing if not scary that we are virtually naked each time we are on Twitter, Facebook, sending emails etc.

There is a huge footprint that we leave, and for anyone seeking to rage against the machine, you are effectively having someone standing over your shoulder watching.

A mobile phone application called Layer enables you to read other people’s Twitter feeds, and if that is not scary, I don’t know what is.

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