News / Africa

    HRW: Ethiopia Eavesdrops on Phone Calls, E-mail

    Ethiopia map
    Ethiopia map
    Marthe van der Wolf
    A new report from Human Rights Watch says Ethiopia is using some of the world's most advanced surveillance software to monitor communications from Ethiopians at home and abroad.
     
    Human Rights Watch says that the Ethiopian government is spying on its citizens and monitoring the activities of Ethiopians in the diaspora by using high tech software from China, Italy and Germany.
     
    Felix Horne is the Horn of Africa researcher with the international human rights organization. He says the Ethiopian government has unlimited access to records of phone calls and emails of Ethiopians at home and abroad:

    “Inside Ethiopia, its control of its Chinese developed telecom system results in having unfettered access to phone records and metadata of all phone calls in the country," he said. "Outside the country, they are using western-made technology to target the activities of very specific members of the diaspora. These technologies are being provided by a company in Italy, called HackingTeam and a company in Germany called Gamma.”
     
    Ethiopia’s telecommunication is monopolized by the state-owned Ethio Telecom. A sim card can only be obtained in Ethiopia after registering personal details, making it easy for the government to identify domestic callers, according to Human Rights Watch.
     
    A U.S. citizen of Ethiopian origin filed a lawsuit against the Ethiopian government last month, saying his computer had been hacked and he had been spied on for more than four months.
     
    Horne says that certain ethnic groups feel particularly at risk when answering phone calls from abroad.
     
    He says, “One of the things that we found in our research is that individuals that receive phone calls from abroad are often targeted and accused of talking to banned organizations or of plotting something against the government, despite there being little evidence to that effect.”
     
    Getachew Redda, an adviser to Ethiopia's prime minister, denies the Human Rights Watch report.  He says the group has "made it a habit to accuse Ethiopia of almost everything that goes wrong in the region" and it has a "negative knee-jerk reaction about any developments in the country."

    He adds that the government "would not waste resources in eavesdropping conversations of opposition figures" and that the accusations are "pure hogwash.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    update Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    March 26, 2014 3:06 AM
    US citizens of Ethiopian origin should be filing a lawsuit against America's National Security Agency. NSA scandalously collected private phone call records, computer data, computer hacking and eavesdropped from citizens around the world including presidents and prime ministers just for fun!. Addis Ababa have got no one to apologize for protecting its citizen from murderous terrorists and menacing Ethiopians in diaspora.

    by: Ras Mitat from: Ethiopia
    March 25, 2014 2:25 PM
    Journalism is dead!

    Single Diaspora opposition loudmouth cries "Ethiopian govt virus," zero evidence as link...

    Human Rights Watch happily relay Black African govt boogeyman story, fundraise more $$$...

    BBC & VOA print fiction as fact by adding, "Human Rights Watch says..."

    Everyone gets paid, no shame.
    In Response

    by: Sofit from: Manchester, UK
    March 25, 2014 9:34 PM
    @Ras, journalism died long ago. They're just digging up the corpse and reburying it.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.