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

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid