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News: The issue of digital sovereignty a matter of national sovereignty: INSA

Shumete Gizaw (PhD), director of Information Network Security Agency (INSA)
Photo: INSA

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba, November 12,2021- The director of Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Shumete Gizaw (PhD) said that Ethiopia’s commitment to develop its own social media network platform is intended to show that it is an independent country in the technology sector. “The issue of digital sovereignty has become a matter of national sovereignty,” Shumete said.

The director noted that, what he called digital sovereignty is becoming a global agenda. “Countries like ours who are entering the sector later than the rest must do so carefully,” he said, emphasizing that the issue has now become a matter of national sovereignty. “When we are able to maintain the cybersecurity of ourselves and our institutions, we would be able to maintain our nation’s security,” Shumete said, further stating that protecting the nation’s sovereignty over cyberspace is not a task left to a single group or institution but a collective responsibility of all parties.

“The plan is not shutting down other social media platforms but providing social media alternatives.”

Shumete Gizaw (PhD)

Discussing Ethiopia’s commitment to develop its own social networking and communication applications, Shumete said, “The plan is not shutting down other social media platforms but providing social media alternatives.” According to him, the move is based on the need to maintain Ethiopia’s independence in the technology sector. 

The director stated that there are applications that are undergoing trial by some institutions, further explaining that efforts to be self-sufficient in the social media sectors in collaboration with the private sector have so far been fruitful. “But developing applications alone is not enough,” Shumete reminded, “The government is working to provide the infrastructure needed.” 

“There are a lot of issues we need to discuss with Facebook and Twitter in this regard. And we will.” 


Shumete Gizaw (PhD)

The INSA director stated that social media applications that can be used for limited services are available and that they will be made public soon. He went on to accuse the owners of Facebook and Twitter and ‘actors who work for them’ of attacking the Ethiopians and Ethiopia’s partners. “They have continued shutting down pages that post influential messages but we are Ethiopians, we will not succumb to technological terror,” Shumete said, adding, “There are a lot of issues we need to discuss with Facebook and Twitter in this regard. And we will.” 

“These technological products belong to them, we sought after them, they weren’t brought up on us,” the INSA director said, underscoring the need to develop our own social media platforms. He also called on individuals and institutions to bring forth similar ideas to INSA headquarters. AS 

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