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There is need to regulate Internet for security reasons
Publish Date: Apr 07, 2011
Newvision Archive
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Andrew Kaweesi

THE “winds of change” sweeping across the Arab states are manmade and are suspicious by all accounts. Cyber culture can be good and bad in equal measure.

This time, it is a looming security threat to the less powerful states especially those with natural resources like oil. The current mass protest and regime changes in North Africa can be described as an experimental launch of this cyber culture.

The collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989 marked the end of the world bipolar system and provided a new world order that seemingly reduced suspicions and mistrust between the two world blocks — the West capitalist America and the East communist Russia.

The end of cold war ushered in a unipolar world order where the world became a global terrain of interaction driven by forces of science and technology, liberal market economies and individual freedoms. Little was known that a new world order would emerge with the Internet.

Cyber culture emanates from cyber activism influenced by globalisation and imperialistic desires to create a new world order based on a virtual human. What has happened in this region cannot be described as revolutions, but rather a cyber effect propounded by cyber activists propagated from the West.

Debates have tried to describe the North African incidents as revolutions just by political symphony, but this is historically unfounded.

Cyber activism is driven by two forces: Western civilisation that promotes generation rebellion and the cyber imperialism. The latter is propounded by western powers who have committed resources for its promotion especially in the third world countries.

Cyber weapons target vulnerable educated youth, “the dot com generation” who are mobilised into cyber addicts with a radical zeal of causing a generation change irrespective of the means it takes. The activist tends to be lost in their own world completely detached from their cultural heritage.

Cyber culture does not respect state borders and has no geographical limitations. It is a threat to national state security in many ways. First the enemy has no defined location and is symmetrical. Secondly, the organisers have a specific target group (youth) whom they promise an ideal life. Thirdly the cyber world is at the mercy of those who control the internet backed by the western powers who have committed colossal funds in its support.

Cyber culture has got its solid infrastructure like Wiki-leaks and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This infrastructure is widely accessible and has unmanned borders. Its management is complex and fluid.

The US leads in cyber defense because it has capacity to filter and block information from any angle. The Chinese, Britain, France and Russia spend billions of dollars in cyber defense. This explains why China had to close down Google despite world protests.

Cyber warfare requires new security architecture that addresses the concerns. The new framework should aim at bridging the distance decay between the public and security forces, investment in cyber security, mass mobilisation and community policing, attraction of foreign direct investment for job creation and enhancement of national value systems in schools, churches and schools to promote nation building and cohesion.

Governments need to come up with an enabling law that guards against misuse of communication networks to protect social values and national identity.

Internet media like the Ugandans at heart website pose a serious national security threat if their net publications are not regulated.

The writer is a commissioner of police

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