Some Arab gov'ts accused of spying on Web users

Activists in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia speak out over alleged surveillance

Tags: JordanMoroccoTunisia
  • E-Mail
Some Arab gov'ts accused of spying on Web users Activists in Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia claim they have gathered information about government surveillance.
By  Courtney Trenwith Published  July 1, 2013

In Tunisia, Slim Amamou, who was jailed in 2010 for organising a street protest against Internet censorship, said although websites were no longer blocked in the North African state the transitional government was monitoring users' online activities.

Amamou, who quit Tunisia's interim government following the country's January 2011 revolution in protest over the temporary return of Internet censorship, said opening up the Web was a trick for the government to more widely monitor users.

"The Interior Minister told the National Assembly that we are creating a department of surveillance," he said.

"The government [thinks] it has to protect the state, the security, but we must not forget the most important thing is the citizen."

Amamou called for Internet freedom to be guaranteed in the country's new constitution, which is being re-written following the revolution.

Fellow Tunisian blogger Sami Ben Gharbia said he believed the government was surveilling him and his colleagues who contributed to a blog called Nawaat.

"We know that they're tapping our phone, we know that they're watching our communication channels online and offline," he said.

But he said it was not clear what information the government was looking for.

 "Who is really surveilling Tunisian communication and what are the target groups who are being watched? We don't know," Ben Gharbia said.

"We need to try to educate people about choosing all kinds of alternative platforms that try to provide technological solutions for surveillance. It's a big dream [to] build a new platform that will compete with Google [and]with Facebook. I think that's what the [online freedom] movement in the world should foster."

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code