A leak from the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) shed light on the agency’s activities surrounding phone records and the harvesting of data from internet giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft.
The Guardian reported George Charamba, press secretary to Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, said: “When we went to the UN World Summit on Information Society in Geneva, there was a very strong pursuit to look at the governance of ICT [information and communications technology]. The Americans were very robust in rejecting that. They were very belligerent about it.
"There is nothing extraordinary in the revelation that Americans are monitoring personal data. We just have to adjust to the threat. It's a pity for you guys in the media: issues of freedom of expression play second fiddle to other considerations. It goes to the heart of the whole issue of liberal democracy."
HumanIPO reported yesterday Kenya was on the US’s top 10 internet watch list.
Bitange Ndemo, former permanent secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication, said: “It is a cause for concern since it touches on the privacy of the people. Our national security will look at the matter before making a substantive statement."
In Rwanda, the foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo said: “Does it surprise anybody that the United States' NSA would access information of internet users, and otherwise? For Rwanda, we believe state and other actual 'secrets' are better handled away from the internet, but, oh well ... it is almost inevitable to be on the internet these days.”
Dale McKinley, a spokesman for the Right2Know Campaign in South Africa, said: “South Africans should be worried. Africa is now an area of increasing strategic and economic importance and will become more so. The intelligence to carry out policy is going to be even more necessary."