Interesting Times

The Police Force has launched a two-week online patrol training to its officers, in a move designed to curb cyber crimes in the country.

……. The Head of Development and Training SACP Abrahaman Kaniki said that online patrol training was one of the plans by the Police Force in improving effectiveness and efficiency in executing their duty of fighting crime in the country.

That’s from today’s state owned Daily News. Twelve officers are taking the two week training with ambitions “to impart online patrol knowledge to every officer”.

Tanzania’s online space is becoming increasingly contested. Following its disappointing performance in October’s election, party stalward Pius Msekwa identified online activism as a real threat to the party. Quarrels over the funding of online discussion forum Jamii Forums by the Tanzania Media Fund regularly break out on twitter, while CCM itself has become an active participant inTanzania’s twitter community.

And recall that the Jamii Forums people are no strangers to ‘online patrols’. Its two founders were arrested and detained in 2008 and their website (then known as Jambo Forums) shut down for nearly a week, supposedly for publishing leaked government documents.

And given western donors predeliction for funding internet based initiatives under the rubric of ‘transparency and accountability’, is there now a countervailing force from China? The report doesn’t say if this training is supported from overseas, but “online patrols” are not unusual there.

Chinese police raid an illegal internet cafe in Guangzhou (courtesy, http://www.computersolving.com)

And what will it mean practically? How does an “online patrol” take place? Where exactly will be patrolled? And who? We are living in interesting times, to be sure.

One response to “Interesting Times

  1. Let’s just hope a censorship firewall isn’t the next step

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