Ethiopia’s government “systematically and illegally” blocked access to social media and news websites in its efforts to crush dissent during the wave of protests which started in November 2015 and culminated with the declaration of a state of emergency in October this year, leading rights group Amnesty International has said in a report published today.
Amnesty said research it had conducted jointly with the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) showed that access to at least 16 news outlets and WhatsApp messaging service had blocked between June and October 2016.
Amnesty also said that Ethiopia’s government uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology to filter access to websites.
DPI is a technology that can be bought and deployed on any network. Though it has many legitimate functions, it can also enable monitoring and filtering of internet traffic.
Maria Xynou of OONI said:
Our findings provide incontrovertible evidence of systematic interference with access to numerous websites belonging to independent news organizations and political opposition groups, as well as sites supporting freedom of expression and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights.”