Zimbabwe once again finds itself going tough times and that said, Zimbabweans are speaking out more about their frustrations. Many are sharing their feelings, thoughts and frustrations via social media and other communication platforms such as WhatsApp. The messages have inspired many to speak out and stand up for what they feel is right.
But, the government does not seem to like what people are doing and saying and has deemed some of these communications as being tantamount to treason. To that effect, POTRAZ put out a statement to inform citizens that communications on social media and WhatsApp will be monitored. They went on the say that people with messages that, “cause despondency, incite violence, threaten citizens and cause unrest, will be arrested and dealt with accordingly in the national interest”.
If this is of concern to you, you can employ various methods to prevent the Zimbabwe government from spying on you and your online activity.
As far as WhatsApp goes, the company itself says that they offer end-to-end encryption where the only person who can read a message is the person or group chat it is sent to. They go on to say,
No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.
But, in order for encryption to be activated, all parties within the conversation have to be using the latest version of WhatsApp. Are you and all of your contacts using the latest version? As already mentioned in the post about being spied on (link above) it was mentioned that in the case of a conversation between two people, it is easy enough to get encryption assurance. All you have to do is tell the other person to update their software. In the case of group conversations, that may be easier said than done. All it takes is just one person to not be using the latest version which effectively makes the conversation insecure and open to prying eyes. (continued below)
More often than not, it is via groups that a number of the messages that the government doesn’t was spread are shared. So, make sure that everyone within your groups is running the latest version. Besides the added security of a VPN, end-to-end encryption is a good way to ensure that you are shielded from prying eyes.
Another issue that citizens of Zimbabwe faced last week and may well so face in the future is not being able to use WhatsApp. On the 6th of July, many people reported not be able to use it to communicate. This may (or may not) have been the government/service providers blocking there service as a result of #ShutdownZim2016/#ZimShutdown2016.
How to unblock WhatsApp
If you do find yourself not being able to use WhatsApp, setup a VPN (virtual private network) and try it out. Not only will it give you an extra layer of security, it will also unblock any services that become blocked by the government and/or ISPs (internet service providers). See the video below (from PureVPN.com) for a brief rundown on what a VPN is and what it can do for you with regards to any apps that may get blocked.
Do you have any other methods that people can use to unblock WhatsApp if it gets blocked in Zimbabwe?