A 'tourist' uses her mobile phone device to record images of a resident who was is dancing during the Mukulapembe Traditional Ceremony in Luwingu recently
THE illegal tapping and hacking of phones has become widespread and some media organisations including online publications are callously hacking into private and institutional phone numbers and lines, listening in and intercepting text messages which they are publishing to either scandalise or blackmail their victims.

And now a governance activist Stanley Mhango has warned Zambians with smart mobile phones to be wary of either calling certain media houses or visiting certain online publications or sites because they risk having their numbers illegally registered with such organisations to facilitate eavesdropping and data capture.

Some media houses including online publication which have hacked into phones are now reproducing transcripts whose ‘whatsup’ dialogue of chat groups.

Victims of hacking include ministers, politicians, church leaders, medical officers and private individuals of interest.

Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu has charged that the tapping of citizens’ phones and listening to their private conversations was a gross violation of the right to privacy which was a constitutional right.

Dr Kaingu said it was criminal for any organisation of individual to invade the privacy or citizens and that State installations such as Zambia Information Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) should immediately launch investigations into the matter. He said ministers and civil servants were no longer safe with their phones and would now be wary who was calling them or on how to use certain applications on mobile phones such as whatsup.

And Mr Mhango said in an interview yesterday that it was worrying that there had been inertia on the part of State security institutions such as ZICTA and the police to act on the illegal tapping and recording of citizens’ private conversations even after citizens had complained.

He said recent revelations that some individuals and organisations had been snooping and spying on citizen’s privacy by listening into their private conversations should be aggressively investigated because such acts bordered on treason as it was a breach on the peace and stability of the country.

Mr Mhango said it was a notorious fact that some known media houses had fabulously invested in criminal activities such as spying into the privacy of citizens and selected political leaders whom they were either blackmailing or scandalising for both economic and political reasons. “The recent revelations that individuals and organisations are spying and snooping into citizens’ conversations are an affront to the right to privacy.

But unfortunately in this country, those who commit such crimes often get away with it with glee at their victims. The right to privacy of citizens should never be compromised because that is a constitutional violation but we are deeply concerned that there seems to have been inertia on our State security agencies to act on these criminal acts even when the individuals and organisations are known,” Mr Mhango said. Mr Mhango said in advanced democracies such as the United States and United Kingdom, newspapers were forced to shut down for phone hacking and that Government investigation agencies should therefore take an interest in such matters.

He said it was unacceptable for media houses to continue infringing on citizens’ rights and that there was evidence where citizens had complained but there had been no action against erring organisations.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. This article is incoherent…in the same article you have Michael Kaingu being quoting in what capacity as a victim or Education Minister…Please LT Editor wake up!!

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    • Whenever you hear HH say that I have intelligence report he actually refers to people who hack into other people’s privacy. Very silly indeed.

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    • Isn`t PF the worst culprit in this? So it`s ok for PF to tap phones of their opponents, but it becomes a violation when done on them?

      The problem with dictatorial governments is that they`re good at inflicting injustice on others but very sensitive when it`s done on them.

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    • Iwe HaJay Jay. The article is coherent, it seems as if you wake up everyday with negativity in your head. Every single day nothing positive. Negative thoughts and politicizing everything. HaJay Jay you will choke of negativity please find ways of allowing some positivity in your daily life.

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    • In countries where very well meaning criticism is tagged insulting the authority and full information is not forthcoming from the authorities, weak points will develop to allow the pressure of truth come out. Progressive citizems will always find a way of digging out and sharing hidden information. “Checks and balances” can only be performed in an environment of openness.

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    • Typical. Who hacks who? Instead of telling Kadansa to change his ways you want to talk about hacking. I would have appreciated your story Mr Mhango if you were complaining for good citizens adding value to this country.
      Our airwaves (whatever you call them) were sold away a long time ago. Have you ever wondered who keeps your CRB? Everytime you borrow Big Brother is watching. These are the issues not Fred.

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  2. i really dont care if these people have hacked my line it doesnt matter. what matters is that a state that dwarfs its men is on its way to dwarfing itself. i dont care if these politicians do hack me. i dont get fed by the state and i dont care who is the president. never trust a politician they just advance their interests. it doesnt matter who. he who trusts man has himself to blame.

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    • I earnestly ask.UPND to.look at youth unemployment.

      I suggest immediate capping years served in pubic service and parastatal organisations to 55 years of age, reduce voluntary years of retirement to 45 years and make normal retirement at 50 years.

      This will guarantee absorption of our youths into formal employment whilst those.who would have worked for st least 25 years will use their savings and experience to continue in self employment. Youths wake up and claim your rights to decent jobs.

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  3. Around the world we know that the more prosperous and equal a country, the less praying goes on.

    QUOTE OF THE DAY
    “Most Swedes think religion is an adorable relic of a bygone era. They tell their children all about it, then pop the Bible back next to the stories about Thor and Odin on the shelf marked “mythology”.

    But visit a region with widespread poverty and desperation, and you’ll see the churches, mosques, temples are packed out. Desperate people will try anything.”

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  4. This Mhango guy is referring ‘hackings’ done by ZWD, first of all, phone hacking is a complex technique, it’s even impossible for ZWD to plant sniffing Malware on it’s own site because the first victim of that sniffing Malware will be the admin of the site & their servers. Most of WhatsApp conversations gathered by ZWD are screenshots of WhatsApp groups, these political parties have WhatsApp groups & moles in their chats who later screenshot those convos & share them anonymously with ZWD. The same applies with recorded calls.

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  5. Mr Fake-azz Mhango, and there is no such thing as legal wire tapping, even governments do it illegally, only for a purpose…In this case, Whatsapp users scandalise each within the group and share stuff with the Watchdog….Its good be dull like Kaingu, coz you dont have to engage the brain at any stage, just speak bwetu-bwetu…

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  6. Where there is peace and a functioning democracy , there is no need to hack. But in Zambia u have dictatorship, ordinary citizens are sharing ‘intellengince’ then u call it ‘hacking’?

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  7. Why can’t you just say its Namakando instead of going round in circles and appear not to know the person that you are talking about

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  8. When you are using a smartphone that is connected to the Internet you have to know the following:
    1. You are risking your privacy.
    2. Your sms (sent or received), emails, photos taken even conversations can be captured and sent to the Internet for review later by other people.
    3. After review of the above the details above can be used against you.
    The solution is avoid a smartphone if possible, do not use sms for sending sensitive details.
    Do not share your Mobile Number any how. Use more than one Mobile phone and number.
    Let us be security aware the times have now changed due to the Internet.

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  9. grz has been tapping pgones for years. if you have ever sent a text, email or made a phobe call since 1990. it has been recorded and logged.

    until the commissioning or attempt to or possessong implements to or the results of such crimes and the passing of such info or data is classified a criminal offence punishable by non paroleable 20 years in jail or more and the loss of all real and other property, this will continue.

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  10. My brother went through this with his phone. Someone hacked into his phone and my brother was put in prison for 2 months. Cut a long story short everyone is acting like this never happens. He is out on a huge bail and the court case begins. Let’s see where this goes. I am very disturbed by the way its been handled.

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