Journalist Tsaone Basimanebotlhe was not charged with a crime – but that didn’t stop the Botswana police from searching her phone with technology from Israeli surveillance firm Cellebrite to determine the sources of her newspaper.

It was 2019 and Basimanebotlhe, the one for the Botswana based Mmegi Newspaper was in a bind. Before long, police were collecting thousands of their messages, as well as details from their emails, browsing history, and call recordings using the Cellebrite Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) and Physical Analyzer, according to an affidavit from the police forensic laboratory.

But Basimanebotlhe didn’t have the information the police were looking for – because they were targeting the wrong journalists, according to a new report by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, released on Wednesday, detailing the reporter’s case. Police were keen to uncover the source behind an apparent leak that revealed the identities of several …


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