Much like the rest of the world, countries in Africa have been getting involved in the modern activity of monitoring both their citizens and their enemies by using offensive cyber technology.
Uganda has been making use of a surveillance program in order to spy on politicians and people who have been determined to be a security risk to the country.
The program has been nicknamed Fungua Mach or “open eyes”. The country has reportedly been using surveillance programs since 2012. Officials from Uganda have denied the usage of this program.
The continent of Africa as a whole has been working hard to develop the latest technologies in cyber weaponry. One recent estimate showed that 29 countries worldwide have military units established for the sole purpose of working on cyber warfare.
Meanwhile, 63 countries have reportedly used programs to spy on the cyber activities of their citizens or people abroad. Four of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Ethiopia, authorities have reportedly been using hacking software to spy on journalists and Ethiopians living in the United States and Europe. Some people have claimed to have had their emails monitored by the Ethiopian government.
Many of the Ethiopian cyberattacks are believed to have been conducted by the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency. One Italian provider of “offensive security technology” who previously sold services in Ethiopia now refuses to offer services to the country. Officials in Ethiopia often have easy access to telecommunications in the country.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that Nigeria has a $40 million contract with a cyber security company from Israel. The country also has a notable lack of privacy laws, and citizens of Nigeria are extremely vulnerable to being monitored by the government.
In South Africa, individuals are supposedly protected from being watched by government officials, but it has been reported that government organizations in the country have been known to operate outside of the law and monitor their citizens.
The government of Sudan established the Cyber Jihadist Unit in 2011. It uses Italian equipment to monitor political opponents and journalists. The country had promised in the past to stop monitoring the phone calls of its citizens, but that practice has continued.