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Ethiopia: Clamping down the Internet

( By Alemayhu G/Mariam)

Last week, for the third time in the past year, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) unplugged the internet.

The reasons are a bit fuzzy. Some T-TPLF officials say the shutdown aims to prevent “student cheating on national exams”.  During a similar clampdown last year, T-TPLF spokesman said the internet was unplugged because “social media have proven to be a distraction for students.”

Shutting down and criminalizing use of the internet has become a weapon in T-TPLF’s cyber warfare strategy against the Ethiopian people, particularly the youth.

In 2012, the T-TPLF enacted the so-called “Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences” criminalizing use of third-party Internet VOIP services (Skype, and Google Talk) to “limit the free flow of information”.

In 2012, the T-TPLF also enacted the so-called Telecom Fraud Offence Proclamation No. 761/2012, which cleverly reinvented the 2009 “anti-terrorism law” and sought to punish, intimidate, harass and jail those who use computers and the internet to express  dissent.

The recent shutdown raises some questions.

First, the students are said to “cheat” on the national “exams” because they allegedly obtained illicit copies by theft or other means. If the “exams” were “stolen” from the vaults of the T-TPLF test makers,  who conducted the theft? If they were hacked out of T-TPLF servers, why weren’t the servers robustly secured?

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Posted by on June 12, 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.