Google unveils online tools to make Kenyan election free and fair

African governments have developed a habit of shutting down social media as the D-day approaches in an effort to control information circulation.

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In this age of hacking where cyber fraud is increasingly becoming more common one can never be too sure.

African governments have also developed a habit of shutting down social media as the D-day approaches in an effort to control information circulation.

Google and technology incubator platform Jigsaw has unveiled a suite of free tools that will help guard against digital attacks during the election period in Kenya.

Dubbed “Protect Your Election”, the tools are designed to help safeguard news organisations, human rights groups, and election monitoring sites from online threats.

Google Kenya Country Manager Charles Murito while commenting about the tools said.

“Everyone has a right to a full and credible story. The free Google tools are designed to safeguard publishers, news organisations, human rights groups and election monitoring sites from digital attacks during the election period.”

Work by such organisations is especially critical before and during elections as they show whether an election was indeed free and fair.

The threats the Google tools hope to address include DDoS (denial-of-service) attacks, phishing and attempts to break into people’s private accounts.

A DDoS attack occurs when online crooks take a website offline by overwhelming it with traffic.

One of the tools unveiled is called Project Shield, and provides free DDoS protection to news sites, human rights groups, and election monitoring sites.

“It is important to provide free protection to these organisations in particular, as they are the groups that provide voters with information they need to make informed decisions. The site is in both English and Swahili,” said an organiser.

About 125,000 DDoS attacks happen every week and tens of millions of phishing attempts are recorded every few months.

The new suite also offers digital defences for individuals, including Password Alert, a Chrome extension that helps protect against phishing attacks by alerting you if a website is trying to steal your Google password.

Another tool offered by Protect Your Election is a 2-Step Verification, which provides an extra layer of defense to keep your account secure.

The suit also includes uProxy, a virtual private network (VPN) that will only be available to organisations.

The tools would come in handy should the State decide to censor social media.

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