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How Ugandans Overturned an Election-Day Blackout of Social Media Apps (vice.com) 54

tedlistens writes: When Ugandans went to the polls last Thursday in presidential and parliamentary elections, they participated in the most heavily-contested political battle since multiparty democracy began in 2005. As reports swirled of vote buying and excessive use of force by the police on opposition protesters, it was the attempt to block access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and mobile phone-based money services that produced the loudest reactions. In a country with the youngest population in the world, where 77 percent of the population is under 30 years of age, mobile apps have become vital to communication and commerce. During the three-day ban, an estimated 1.5 million citizens, or 15 percent of the internet-using populace, downloaded VPN software and Tor to reroute their internet connections and return to social media, where discussion about the election continued to rage.
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How Ugandans Overturned an Election-Day Blackout of Social Media Apps

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  • by freshlimesoda ( 2497490 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @08:09PM (#51588081)
    ..And internet always finds a way
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @08:23PM (#51588175) Journal

    They're not exactly a liberal bunch [ebar.com]. Even with all the fraud, the incumbents still have a lot of support.

    Also it looks like there was lots of help from the Department of State, so let's not get all excited about this being a 'grassroots' effort or anything.

    • So, they need to agree with your far-left political views to be good people? WTF? Where did that even come from?

      The Department of State helped in the color revolutions too, so what's your point? Tunisia is free today because of it, and the Arab Spring was a great win for both the US President and the Secretary of State.

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )
        Well, since you consider it apparently so far-left as to be beyond the pale to think that LGBT people shouldn't have to fear for their lives, I'm going to call you exactly what you are: A disgusting bigoted dinosaur.
        • It is the Ugandans who hold these views, but thanks for projecting. If you don't like Africans because they don't agree with white liberal political views then it's you who are the bigot. Why don't we all ask the indigenous people what they think about you and your racist opinions?
          • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

            Oh fuck off already. You obviously think it is a-okay that they hold those views, otherwise you wouldn't have railed against someone who denounced them. And playing the "but you're the real bigot" card is a tacit admission of having no defense.

        • I value the lives of all people, including those who choose to be part of the self-styled LGBTQ community, but also including the many, many more who do not. Those who would imprison or murder people for being a part of that community are wrong, but so are those who would allow the destruction of an entire civilization at that community's behest. Civilized societies have found a way to find a balance somewhere between those two extremes.
          • I value the lives of all people, including those who choose to be part of the self-styled LGBTQ community, but also including the many, many more who do not. Those who would imprison or murder people for being a part of that community are wrong, but so are those who would allow the destruction of an entire civilization at that community's behest.

            The difference is the latter group doesn't exist, because the LGBTQ community can't destroy the civilization because how in the heck could it possibly do that even

            • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

              I think that his point is that we are constantly told to respect the beliefs of other cultures, that does not appear to extend to those things that are objectionable to current thought from the same people. So, effectively, "tolerance" becomes a word used to berate people who don't have the same idea of what is "tolerable" as others.

              The Spanish conquerors thought it was obscene that the Aztecs would sacrifice thousands on an altar for their religious beliefs, but yet today, much is made about how Spain wer

      • :-) Heh. Good troll! But your bait is just not that attractive this time around.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      Even with all the fraud, the incumbents still have a lot of support.

      It's amazing how much support you can drum up with a few lowloaders of youths brandishing bats and encouraging the populace to give them your vote.

  • by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @08:42PM (#51588305)
    Anyone remember who first said "The Internet interprets censorship as a fault and routes around it" or something to that effect?

    This is a perfect example.
  • What's so bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @08:47PM (#51588319) Homepage Journal

    What's so bad that the incumbents decided it was better to piss everyone off by banning social media than let them talk about it?

  • by youngone ( 975102 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @08:52PM (#51588347)
    As I read the Washington Post article I just kept thinking about what a total failure African independence has been. There are hardly any real democracies in Africa.

    If you look at the map, an awful lot of African countries have long straight borders that look like they were created by someone in London or Paris with no thought for the realities on the ground.

    It's entirely possible that I don't really understand Africa either, but I've often thought that the best thing would be to scrap every country on the continent, and divide the place up along ethnic lines. I know that would hardly be trouble free, but there might at least a chance for some sort of peace in the place.

    his critics now charge that Museveni manipulates the military to keep a firm grip on power.

    Yeah, well, it's Africa

    Besigye, a retired army colonel

    So probably no better than the last guy

    • Upon the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, when the continent was being decolonized, the first resolution adopted by the Africans themselves was that the white man's borders would not be changed.

    • When I visited Uganda in 2012, there was a state visit from the Rwandan President, which was a big event - there was a ceremony that was televised where the Ugandan President and the Rwandan President gave each other medals to celebrate the end of the Rwandan civil war, and both men were in full military dress uniform with a chest full of medals.

      It struck me then that you only ever see that from governments which are, for want of a better word, somewhat "suspect". Even my Ugandan friends admit that there i

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Much of Africa is effectively in the stage of political development where Europe was a few centuries ago. In Europe, all of this was accepted because there were Kings and Kings needed Crown Princes.

        The problem with Africa today is that we have sort of made them call themselves Presidents, but they want to be Kings, and their people treat them similarly. They never had the tribalism beat out of them by long and hard experience, so they're still effectively acting like tribes who have chiefs and kings.

        Ugand

  • by sittingnut ( 88521 ) <sittingnut@gmai l . com> on Thursday February 25, 2016 @09:41PM (#51588659) Homepage

    if we stick to facts as opposed to hype, we learn that while use of methods to go round the blocked media increased, it did not change much. nor should it.
    same thing happened after the so called 'arab spring', all those stories about westernized arab liberals chasing away mubarak using social media. (some western media even calling it the twitter revolution.) then parties representing them got very little votes, while muslim brotherhood and other islamist parties won big. and then military took back the power.

    westerners have highly exaggerated notion of power of media, in their own countries and elsewhere. in their minds success of unwanted politicians, whether they be foreign 'dictators', or local right/left wingers, are due mainly to propaganda for them, and/or censorship of opponents, through media. not so.

    people and issues are more complex than that.

  • "How often do you have election?"
    "Evely day."
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  • One of my ISP's sounded the alarm one day before elections. They were told it's a national emergency and were required to block "all social media". All social media was ambiguous and despite efforts we never got the official communication - but whatsapp, facebook, twitter were specified as the main ones. They also received no notification to restore services but decided to anyways when one of the major telcos did. I see the same president still prevails so oppression still works well for raping a nation.

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