by Miles Borowsky
This podcast explains the story and history behind Operation Vula: a communications system between underground anti-apartheid activists in South Africa and their exiled leaders in London and Zambia. They used telephone dial-tones and an electronic one-time pad encryption software to send messages via payphone between London and South Africa. The success of this project was vital to the downfall of apartheid; it allowed for almost real-time communications while previously, they had been forced to use cumbersome and lengthy methods of communication.
Garrett, R. K., & Edwards, P. N. (2007). Revolutionary Secrets: Technology’s Role in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement. Social Science Computer Review, 25(1), 13–26.
Schneier, B. (2013, December 26). Operation Vula. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/12/operation_vula.html.
Jenkin, T. (n.d.). Tim Jenkin: Talking with Vula. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://omalley.nelsonmandela.org/omalley/index.php/site/q/03lv03445/04lv03996/05lv04001.htm
Vermeulen, J. (2015, July 12). How the ANC sent encrypted messages in the fight against apartheid. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://mybroadband.co.za/news/security/131822-how-the-anc-sent-encrypted-messages-in-the-fight-against-apartheid.html.
Toupin, S. (2017, May 9). Hacking Apartheid – Cryptography Tools for Activists. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/hacking-apartheid-cryptography-tools-for-activists/.
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More information about Operation Vula…
Image: “Touch-tone telephone,” snowmentality, Flickr (CC BY-SA)