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It documents how the Ethiopian government uses its control over the telecommunications system to restrict the right to privacy and freedoms of expression and association, and access to information, among other rights.

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All interviewees voluntarily consented to be interviewed and were informed of the purpose of the interview and its voluntary nature, including their right to stop the interview at any point. Immediately cease all jamming of radio and television stations and commit to not jam radio and television stations in the future. Others refuse to use email altogether. Security or law enforcement agencies are often required to go through a specified legal process and demonstrate a legitimate aim, under oversight by an independent authority. Mail are the most popular webmail services and Paltalk is widely used in Ethiopia for group discussions. None of the interviewees were offered any form of compensation for agreeing to participate in interviews. As a result, self-censorship in phone and email communication is rampant as people extend their long-held fears of government interference in their private lives to their mobile phone use. We know they listen to all our phone calls and Internet. According to former intelligence officials who spoke to Human Rights Watch, the selection of some surveillance targets is not necessarily based on the security threat they pose, and the actual methods of surveillance are sometimes unlawful. By contrast, neighboring Kenya has close to 40 percent access.

New communications tools like Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP voice calls made over Internet networkschat, email, and social media services can be intercepted, though use of encryption can help shield online activity.

Regional government and security officials routinely accuse dissidents, critics and students of being OLF "terrorists" or insurgents. It controls access to the phone network and to the Internet and all phone and Internet traffic must use Ethio Telecom infrastructure.

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However, these developments also present a challenge for government: how to embrace the many economic benefits of a growing telecom sector while ensuring that increased access does not translate into unfettered social and political mobilization and public protest of the kind seen in North Africa and the Middle East in recent years. Banning me from Assimba Room as was done this afternoon is a sign of defeat. Communicate an expectation to the government of Ethiopia that companies operating in Ethiopia should be able to implement the recommendations outlined above. This material includes previous Human Rights Watch research as well as information collected by other credible technology experts and independent human rights investigators. The Ethiopian government has ambitious growth targets in the telecommunications sector. Others refuse to use email altogether. Security or law enforcement agencies are often required to go through a specified legal process and demonstrate a legitimate aim, under oversight by an independent authority.

Commonly known as the system, it has many variations depending on location but all involve Ethiopians monitoring the day-to-day activities of other Ethiopians, including friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors.

ZTE sells a range of telecommunications equipment, software, and services, including network switches, mobile handsets, and software systems.

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In some cases, security officials knew the phone numbers of the people they were interrogating, but in many cases they did not.

Commit to independent and transparent third-party monitoring to ensure compliance with human rights standards, including by joining a multi-stakeholder initiative like the GNI. These surveillance systems are set up throughout the country to monitor election compliance, to gather intelligence, and to serve other functions.

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To the World Bank, African Development Bank, and other Donors Undertake human rights due diligence on telecommunication projects in Ethiopia, to prevent directly or indirectly supporting violations of the rights to privacy or freedom of expression, association, or movement; or access to information including through censorship, illegal surveillance, or network shutdowns.

Recommendations To the Government of Ethiopia Enact protections for the right to privacy to prevent abuse and arbitrary use of surveillance, national security, and law enforcement powers as guaranteed under international law applicable to Ethiopia.

In some cases, this was to verify information that security officials already seemed to know but in most cases officials seemed to be acquiring new information.

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While some of the individuals who were subject to this unsophisticated but effective technique were in remote, rural areas and not high-profile, some very high-profile individuals were subject to this basic technique.

While monitoring of communications can legitimately be used to combat criminal activity, corruption, and terrorism, in Ethiopia there is little in the way of guidelines or directives on surveillance of communications or use of collected information to ensure such practices are not illegal.

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