On July 12, 2017, a coalition of websites, technology companies, digital rights organizations, and Internet users in the United States joined forces to defend a democratizing idea that matters for Zimbabwe, especially in the final months of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship: net neutrality.
As law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies of leading democracies and authoritarian countries relentlessly push for back doors to secure encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp, strong encryption is needed in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe now more than ever before.
The cybersecurity debate can undermine human rights and the international obligation on governments to protect them, argues Lucy Purdon, a policy officer at Privacy International.
WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” leak reveals the CIA’s dangerous global hacking arsenal. The dump confirms that encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp remain Zimbabweans’ first line of defence against the Mugabe government’s burgeoning digital authoritarianism.
Zimbabwe urgently needs a grassroots movement and network of Internet freedom fighters dedicated to defending privacy and digital rights during Zimbabwe’s 2018 transition season and after Robert Mugabe’s departure.