Feeds

Zimbabwe blocks emails

Laughing Bob Mugabe at it again...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Robert Mugabe's government is trying to force Zimbabwean ISPs to block politically sensitive emails. So far ISPs claim to be resisting such moves.

The move is important because the Web has become the only uncensored source of information now that opposition newspapers and other media have been closed down.

The Zimbabwean government wants ISPs to block emails considered "politically sensitive, objectionable, unauthorised or obscene". The law also mentions "anti-national activities". ISPs must also provide government officials with information to help track down the authors.

Internet providers say it is impossible for them to police all traffic they carry and don't have the storage capacity to keep all emails sent. Even Mugabe's security staff are unlikely to have time to read all of everyone's email.

But some subscribers have already received messages explaining that an email was blocked for containing "sensitive information".

An anomymous source from a Zimbabwean ISP told the BBC it believed the proposal was illegal. He said ISPs would happily cooperate in cases of crimes such as terrorism but that is was not their job to police the Internet.

Mugabe railed against the Internet as a tool of imperialist oppressors at the end of last year. He accused Britain, Canada and the US of using the Net to: "challenge our sovereignty through hostile and malicious broadcasts calculated to foment instability and destroy the state through divisions".

Late last year the government arrested 14 people accused of forwarding or circulating an email deemed to be offensive to Mugabe.

Reporters without Borders regards Zimbabwe as by far the worst threat to press freedom in southern Africa.

Zimbabwe's phone system, once one of Africa's finest, has suffered with the rest of the country but Internet use is high. In 2002 the CIA estimated it had 100,000 Internet users.®

Related stories

Mugabe rails against colonialist Internet
Nigerian 419: White farmers up the ante
Mugabe mocked on Zimbabwe embassy Web site

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.