September 23, 2019

Google steps in to protect Kenya’s August polls, unveils free tools

The study did however show that not all bribes translated into a vote/FILE

A suite of free tools has been unveiled by Google and technology incubator platform Jigsaw to cushion news organizations against digital attacks during this election period.

The tools will also safeguard human rights groups and election monitoring sites from online attacks common during an electioneering period.

Google Kenya Country Manager Charles Murito said: “Everyone has a right to a full and credible story. The free Google tools are designed to safeguard publishers, news organizations, human rights groups and election monitoring sites from digital attacks during the election period.”

In the recent past, two Kenyan outfits; Africa Uncensored-owned by investigative journalist John Allan Namu and Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) have been subjects of online attacks.

The attacks commonly manifest themselves as DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) threats, phishing and hacking into people’s private accounts.

The new suite of free tools dubbed “Protect Your Election” will come in handy at thwarting online censorship, mitigating threats from digital attacks, countering violent extremism and protecting people from online harassment.

In particular, DDoS threats have been addressed by a tool, Project Shield that will protect news sites, human rights groups, and election monitoring sites.

Individuals have been protected from phishing by a password alert which is a Chrome extension that alerts you when a website is trying to steal your Google password.

Another tool offered is the 2-Step Verification which provides an extra defense to keep your account secure.

Other tools such as uProxy and a virtual private network (VPN) have been provided by the suite for organizations and they come in handy should the state decide censor social media.