Hello World!

Welcome to the virtual location of the KUKU Trust. :-)

In the real world our site is the city of Dar es Salaam at the East African coast. The name “Dar es Salaam” has Arabic roots and means “haven of peace”. And indeed: I have hardly met more friendly and humble people anywhere else.

“Kuku”, a word of their Kiswahili language, is the unisex name for poultry. Eating is a popular activity around here and kuku the favourite dish of the most. ;-)

KUKU_seal_blk_200In our case though, KUKU is the abbreviation of “Kompyuta ya Umma Kiswahili Uhuru”. Kompyuta ya Umma is “the people’s computer”. Uhuru means freedom. Uhuru is also our name for an operating system in Kiswahili language. KUKU outlines the objective of our activity:

Helping Tanzania to overcome the Digital Divide by her own means

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Richard Buckminster Fuller

The White Man’s Burden

Casting Facebook’s data efficiency plan as “the savior of the developing world” is “hard to swallow.”
– David Talbot, MIT Technology Review

The father of this nation, the late President Nyerere, studied history and political economy for his Master of Arts at the University of Edinburgh. Most probably he would have commented on Facebook Inc.’s present initiative to help the developing world “to get connected”, by looking back into the history of African experiences with Western “good-will” intervention.

One of the most popular writers in the age of Victorian Great British Empire published a poem in 1899, which started like this:

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
The White Man’s Burden, Joseph Rudyard Kipling1

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Colonialism 2.0

“The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.”
William McKinley, 25th President of the USA

Assimilation describes the process whereby foreign peoples are absorbed into a dominant culture, society or economy. The added attribute benevolent (Latin: “well-wished”) characterises such assimilation as an act of charity (Latin: “unconditional love for others”) or philanthropy (Greek: “love of humanity”).

In reaction to our recent article “Digital Tyranny“, many readers requested more details about how exactly the global internet-economy might affect the lives and livelihoods of African people?

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Digital Tyranny

 “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”
– Maximilien de Robespierre (1758 – 1794)

The origins of modern Western Civilisation date back 2400 years to ancient Greece, where philosophers like Plato and Aristotle developed concepts of government. They formulated our ideas about “democracy” (rule by the people), “oligarchy” (rule by money), and “tyranny” – the arbitrary and oppressive exercise of power, unrestrained by rule or law. Characteristic features of a tyranny are a charismatic leader, the tyrant (dictator), at the top of a police-state which suppresses any opposition.

Can two check-marks change the way societies interact?

In October 2014, the millions of users of the Instant Messenger application “WhatsApp” discovered that a new feature appeared alongside their texts:

WhatsappThese two blue ticks hadn’t been there before! On its website the company explained:

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A True Conspiracy

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States; “Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies.,” April 29, 1938.

The most interesting discovery in the field of Information and Communication Technology for 2013 was, that the international community obtained the certainty, that a small Anglo-American elite is in almost global and total control of all ICT facilities. Thanks to Mr. Edward Snowden, a former executive controller who started to realise the monstrosity of the plot to keep the world-population under continuous surveillance, the deprivation of privacy for the most, in the interest of a few, is no longer a secret, but a well-documented fact.
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US Plan to destruct online Privacy Rights everywhere

“… we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office […] while making sure that other nations play by the rules …”
– Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th US-President, January 20, 2015

The US-magazine “Foreign Policy”, which claims to be “reporting [from] inside the foreign policy machine”, on 20/11/13 published an article titled: “Exclusive: Inside America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere“. It discloses the United States’ strategy to prevent, that the 193 members of the United Nation’s General Assembly will vote for an universal human right to online privacy in coming December.

Brazil and Germany had introduced to the UN General Assembly their draft resolution in early November and it became co-sponsored by 55 countries, so it seemed guaranteed that the resolution would pass – wouldn’t it?
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Brazil, Germany to defend Digital Privacy at UN

On Thursday 07/11/13 Brazil and Germany formally introduced this resolution to the U.N. General Assembly urging all countries to extend internationally guaranteed rights to privacy to the Internet and other electronic communications.

“Today, there seem to be hardly any technical limitations for accessing, storing or combining personal data. But should everything that is technical feasible also be allowed? Where do we draw the line between legitimate security concerns and the individual right to privacy? And how do we ensure that human rights are effectively protected both offline and online?”
– German Ambassador Peter Wittig

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The War on Information

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
James Jesus Angleton, chief of CIA counterintelligence, 1954 – 1975

On 28/10/2013 the British Prime Minister defended the mass-surveillance programs by his intelligence services, “who do such important work to keep our country safe“. David Cameron criticised the publication of “damaging material” and warned that, “it is much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility. However, if they do not demonstrate some social responsibility, it will be very difficult for the Government to stand back and not to act.

More than 60 years ago George Orwell wrote about a fictitious future British society, where all subjects would be kept under constant indoctrination and surveillance by “telescreens” – devices which operate 24/7 as both televisions and security cameras. The government would justify these actions as imperative security measure in a state of war.

A work of fiction becomes reality

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“We need to own the net”

“… we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.
It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.”
– John F. Kennedy, 35th US-President, April 27, 1961

A mysterious affair

While the true circumstances forcing Bolivians President Morales’ plane to land in Vienna, Austria might never be revealed, it definitely was a great demonstration of that “tightly knit, highly efficient machine” in action.

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Surveillance Goes Mainstream

On 06/06/2013, The Washington Post and The Guardian started publishing classified documents revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of telecommunications companies and at least nine leading U.S. Internet companies:

Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube.

Using such facilities means that audio and video chats, e-mails, photographs and documents can be copied and analysed – inclusive connection logs – by a third party.

PRISM data types

“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type” (Snowden)1

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Arrested Development

No April Fool’s Day joke

On April 1, 2013 Judge Richard Sullivan of an US District Court in New York / USA ruled that digital music cannot be sold second hand

Digital audio files, like videos, images, texts or any other data are at the very core of computation represented by just two digits:

  • 0 = power off
  • 1 = power on

Reading this very text from your display right now means that your computer has “downloaded” to your hard-drive the required digital pattern of ones and zeroes together with the blueprint to reassemble them on your screen. As a result you are in possession of an identical copy of my digital edition of “Arrested Development”.

Sending you a printed edition by mail instead, would have taken more efforts and time but above all: this certain print would no longer be in my possession!

The Cyberspace1 — a virtual reality created by electrons
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