In a recent cabinet reshuffle, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe unveiled a brand new ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation. The ministry further extends the dictator’s authoritarian agenda and ability to conduct repressive activities into cyberspace.
Members of Zimbabwe’s growing army of Internet-savvy freedom fighters “can easily be identified” by Mugabe’s all-seeing surveillance state, according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulator.
Zimbabwe’s Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill, Robert Mugabe’s newest information control weapon, seeks to cripple Internet-savvy Zimbabweans in the diaspora, particularly rights defenders, opposition party activists, and investigative journalists, ahead of the much-anticipated harmonized 2018.
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.
Unites States President Donald Trump’s Executive Order, the “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”, jeopardizes the privacy and digital rights of U.S.-based Zimbabweans. Meanwhile, at home, Zimbabweans must content with Robert Mugabe’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.