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The Government of Mozambique is “Spying on its Citizens”, According to @Verdade

Esquema do sistema de escutas implementado em Moçambique. Imagem do jornal @Verdade

Scheme of the surveillance system implemented in Mozambique. Image from @Verdade.

Earlier this month, Mozambicans learned that their government has been “listening to [their] telephone calls, reading [their] text messages (by SMS, email, WhatsApp, Viber…) and monitoring [social media activity] and Internet sites that they visit.”

The revelations published by independent media outlet @Verdade (a partner of Global Voices) on 4 May also described how authorities intercepted and monitored communications between Mozambican citizens using a technical system that was reportedly built by ZTE Corporation, a Chinese company.

ZTE installs Mozambique’s intrusive interception system with access to all communications

The surveillance scheme was introduced during the term of ex-president Armando Guebuza, and cost the government around 140 million US dollars. The son of the ex-president was the intermediary in the deal:

O comando nacional de intercepção de informação foi adquirido pela Casa Militar, entre 2012 e 2014, e instalado pela empresa chinesa ZTE Corporation. Mas o negócio “militar” não foi feito directamente pelo Estado. A empresa privada Msumbiji Investment Limited, empresa da família Guebuza onde o filho do antigo Presidente, Mussumbuluku Guebuza é administrador executivo (CEO), intermediou o negócio que custou cerca de 140 milhões de dólares norte-americanos, aos cofres públicos, dos quais oito por cento foram pagos em comissões.

The order to intercept information was secured by the military command between 2012 and 2014, and installed by the Chinese ZTE Corporation. But the “military” deal was not done directly by the state. The private company Msumbiji Investment Limited, the company of the Guebuza family where the son of former president, Mussumbuluku Guebuza, is the CEO, mediated the deal which cost around 140 million US dollars to public funds, eighty percent of which was paid in commissions.

The system, which has access to all voice communications and data passing through fixed and mobile phone networks, is managed by the military command which facilitates the process. Interceptions do not need prior judicial authorization, much less the agreement of the telecommunications companies. The system also conducts tracking of all communications via email or social networks.

A informação capturada pelo sistema em tempo real, é listada no projecto que estamos a citar, vai desde a mais simples chamada telefónica ou mensagem de texto (SMS) de todos os milhões de usuários das redes de telefonia móvel, passando pelas mensagens de todos o tipo de correios electrónicos (sejam de POP3, SMTP ou IMAP4) ou mesmo os emails trocados pelos diversos fornecedores online (gmail, yahoo, live). O sistema captura também os dados trocados através das aplicações de bate-papos, dos mais populares até aos menos conhecidos, acede às comunicações por Voz através de Protocolo de Internet (VOIP acrónimo em inglês), acessa aos dados trocados por FTP ou TELNET e também permite a recolha das comunicações trocadas nas redes sociais (facebook, twitter, google plus e até pelo youtube).

The information captured by the system in real time, listed in the project we are discussing, goes from the simplest telephone call or text message (SMS) of all the millions of users of mobile telephone networks, to the messages of all types of electronic mail (whether POP3, SMTP or IMAP4), and even the emails exchanged by various online providers (Gmail, Yahoo, live). The system also captures the data exchanged over chat applications, from the most popular to the least known, accesses voice communications over internet protocol (VOIP), accesses data exchanged on FTP or TELNET, and permits the tracking of communications exchanged via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube).

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