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Zambia rubbishes allegations of spying on citizen’s communication

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , Zambia , 05 Mar 2021

Zambia’s Minister of Communications and Transport Mutotwe Kafwaya has denied claims raised in a report that the country is among seven in Africa using Circle platforms to intercept and eavesdrop on the private communications of citizens.

The report by the University of Toronto Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyber-Espionage Firm Circles, lists Zambia as one of the seven African countries using ICT tools to spy on text messages and SMS’.

It adds that the Circle platform intercepts data from mobile networks, allowing the infiltrator to read messages, e-mails and listen on phone calls in realtime.

Other African countries mentioned in the report include Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

An excerpt from the report reads: “Zambia appears to be another Circle client. Its government also has a record of using surveillance against its citizen. In 2019, authorities arrested a group of bloggers who ran an opposition news site allegedly with the aid of a cyber-surveillance unit in Zambia’s telecommunications regulator used to pin-point the bloggers’ location and was in constant in touch with the police.”

Kafwaya dismissed the allegations as rumour that should be ignored: “I don’t know any Israeli company we are working with to spy on our citizens. This is a bad rumour that people should not believe because it has the potential to divide the country.”

In January 2020, Amnesty International filed a lawsuit in Israel calling for the Defence Ministry to ban the export of invasive spying software, but the request was denied

Circle has not yet commented on the report.

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