The CSIR, StopRhinoPoaching.com and Seecrypt have announced a partnership to deliver military-grade secure communications to the teams of dedicated individuals fighting the war against Rhino poaching.
The partnership was announced today at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2014 exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof outside Pretoria and comes as 770 rhinos have been killed by poachers this year.
South Africa is home to approximately 20 430 white rhinos and 5 080 black rhinos – comprising 82% of Africa’s remaining rhino population and the last strong hold for rhinos on earth. Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe contribute a further 3 084 odd animals, with each of these countries facing similar poaching challenges. South Africa has lost 3 427 known animals since 2008.
One of the reasons for rhino deaths is that poachers intercept communications between enforcement role players. Poaching syndicates are sophisticated in their approach and this, combined with the relative ease of communication hacking today, will wreak havoc with operational security and investigations, the CSIR, Seecrypt and StopRhinoPoaching said in a statement.
Seecrypt's technology provides end to end, highly encrypted, communications on mobile devices for all the leading mobile operating systems, including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile 8. Now voice calls, text messages and images can be securely shared by all those involved in the fight against Rhino Poaching.
Elise Daffue, Founding Director of StopRhinoPoaching.com said: “We are up against multiple layers of organised crime – from rhino poachers on the ground to wildlife trafficking kingpins sitting overseas. We cannot underestimate the resources they have available to counter our efforts, especially as the demand for horn – and their profit - increases. Our role is to harness selected relationships with trusted stakeholders, directing funding for strategic security initiatives and ranger support. Seecrypt’s significant contribution of a secure communication system will ensure that operational efficiency and information flow of Rhino protection initiatives are protected against these criminal networks.
"Seecrypt have neutralised a significant threat. Partnerships with the likes of Seecrypt and CSIR will help our Rhinos and those trying so hard to protect them - an effective combination of technology, dedication and peace of mind.“
This partnership is managed by the CSIR, whose operational and technical excellence will allow Seecrypt to customise the technology to meet the operation requirements needed, the release said. For example Seecrypt's secure message broadcasting solution will have its first ever operational deployment as part of this programme.
“The CSIR's role is to undertake science and research to make a difference and contribute to national priorities. With this collaboration - as with our other partnerships with industry, government and donor organisations - the ultimate aim is using our experience and expertise to find the right solutions to better protect our national assets,” said Chris Serfontein, Manager: Technology for Special Operations, CSIR.
"CSIR has a long history of delivering programs in support of national security. Today fighting poachers who are killing our Rhino's is a national priority. The collaboration with Seecrypt announced today, together with our other industry partners, government agencies and importantly donor organisations all have the collective aim at saving the Rhino for the benefit of our nation and the millions who enjoy seeing these wonderful animals in their natural habitat," said Mornay Walters, CEO of Seecrypt. “Working together, the CSIR, Seecrypt and StopRhinoPoaching.com will shape the product to allow the maximum advantage of communication secrecy to our anti-poaching teams.
“Every day we see the consequences when hackers get hold of private data. Tourists visiting our national parks can also help. Before you post that photo of a rhino on social media or share it with a friend please think how the image, if intercepted, can end that rhino's life. We urge you not to share it or post it but if you must then Seecrypt Lite is a free app that will allow you to share it securely and our Rhino will be forever in your debt."