South Africa’s Telecommunications and Postal Services Ministry recently signed a Cyber Security Pact with China, with the aim that it will transfer skills and improve our protection from online criminals.

But the Democratic Alliance [DA] isn’t too happy with the deal.

The DA’s Marian Shinn, who is also Shadow Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, said in a statement that the signing of the agreement is a cause for concern about South Africa’s attitude towards restrictions on internet freedom and cyber surveillance of internet users.

“China has earned a reputation for suppressing freedom of expression of its citizens by clamping down on social media sites, erecting firewalls to restrict citizens’ access to news and information from outside sources, and mounting cyber-attacks on Western corporations,” she said.

Shinn added that South Africa shouldn’t associate itself with China when it comes to internet freedom.

“This is not a regime South Africa needs to align too closely with if we seek to be an active and trusted online trading partner worldwide and champion the freedom of access to information and expression championed in our Constitution.”

To further drive her point home, Shinn said that SA has a “dubious attitude to international norms of human rights.”

“The South African government has been reticent to share with the public its strategy and initiatives in the spheres of cyber security and internet governance,” said Shinn. “The fact that its pact with China is its first ‘outing’ of its vision in this sphere is alarming. South Africans must know the details of this pact and gain clear insight into how it will affect our internet usages and privacy.”

In April, the Right2Know Campaign released its  Big Brother EXPOSED report, a document that relays stories of activists and community leaders who have been monitored and “harassed” online by those suspected of working for South African State Security Agency.

[Image – Defcon by IntroVersion ]

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.