Horizon Blog

Trends and Challenges for the moderation of end-to-end encrypted communication in Zimbabwe

Student challenge at the Harare Institute of Technology

As part of our collaborative project with the Harare Institute of Technology, we decided to run a challenge for undergraduate students there. We asked students studying computer science or cyber security to work in a team of 4 and identify a challenge connected to the moderation of end-to-end encrypted online communications. After identifying and discussing the challenge, the teams then wrote a brief outline proposing how they would address this it. We judged these initial proposals and invited the 6 top teams to submit a short video explaining their ideas in more detail.

We then judged the videos and gave prizes (shopping vouchers and University of Nottingham souvenirs) to the best ones. The judges were:

Dr Helena Webb Transitional Assistant Professor at the Horizon Digital Economy Institute, University of Nottingham
Mr Calvin Mugauri Acting Head of Department of Information Security and Assurance, Harare Institute of Technology
Dr Nicholas Gervassis Assistant Professor in Law, University of Nottingham
Dr Virginia Portillo Research Fellow at the Horizon Digital Economy Institute, University of Nottingham
Dr Anna-Maria Piskopani Research Fellow at the Horizon Digital Economy Institute, University of Nottingham
Mr Ephraim Luwemba PhD student and Research Assistant at the Horizon Digital Economy Institute, University of Nottingham

We were very impressed with all the video submissions. The student teams worked hard on the task and engaged passionately with the question of how to address moderation issues arising from end-to-end encrypted online communications. We liked that students approached the question in different ways and put forward a variety of ideas. We felt students displayed a great depth of knowledge and presented some insightful solutions. Our judging criteria related to 1) Depth of topic knowledge 2) Originality of ideas 3) Clarity of presentation and 4) Quality of presentation.


We are delighted to announce the top 3 teams and show their videos.

1st place: Binary Scientists

Team members Panashe Lunga, Artwell N Muzoroza, Shawn Chikono, Joshua Chikomo

Our comments

The team put forward a very good idea about how to flag questionable content, even with E2E encryption in place. They displayed a good depth of knowledge and original thinking. They explained the background issues and their solution very well, plus their presentation was excellent.


2nd place: Trailblazers

Team members Michael Meuka, Tapiwa Kasosera, Anotidaishe Mutendzwa, Tawanda Ndaba

Our comments

The team displayed excellent depth of knowledge, showing that they understood the key issues and had thought of an innovative solution. We liked that the team chose to outline multiple facets of the potential solution to the problem, including mentioning stakeholders and the value of education. The animation style worked very well in communicating the team’s message.


3rd place: Digital Avengers

Team members Tadiwanashe Muteera, Raldo Chimwendo, Tafadzwa Kativu, Tadiwanashe Chiku,

Our comments

We felt this team displayed a lot of technical knowledge about E2E encryption and really liked that they sought feedback on their idea. We also  liked the visual representation of their solution included in the video. The team presented collectively and put forward a simple, but workable, idea.


Congratulations to all of you for a great job!


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