Blog

Blackouts, Social Media Bans, Digital Surveillance Continue to Rise Across Africa

News update |

Governments are getting increasingly sophisticated in squashing internet rights. But Gambia’s progress gives some hope.

Late in the night of November 30, 2016, citizens of the small West African nation, The Gambia, noticed their internet had gone down. Ordinarily, it might have been considered a technical fault somewhere in the system, but on the eve of a general election under…

How Digital Espionage Tools Exacerbate Authoritarianism Across Africa

News update |

Earlier this year, an international reporting project based on a list of 50,000 phone numbers suspected of being compromised by the Pegasus spyware program revealed just how widespread digital espionage has become. Pegasus, which is built and managed by the Israeli firm NSO Group, turns mobile phones into surveillance tools by granting an attacker full access to a device’s data. It is among…

Bridging Africa’s Digital Divide: The Rise of Community Internet

News update |

In villages and townships, Africans are building their own internet infrastructure to connect, and protect, the unconnected

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As a child growing up in war-torn northern Uganda, Daniel Komakech’s education was interrupted every time he had to flee rebels and hide in the bush for days to avoid being abducted.

Today, Komakech, 34, helps run…

Disparity In The Data Collection Policies of Some Pan-African Firms in Uganda Raises Privacy Concerns

News update | 

Unwanted Witness, a Uganda-based civil society organisation, in its 2021 report on privacy revealed inconsistencies in the privacy policy of the telecoms companies Airtel and MTN, financial services firms such as Stanbic Bank, and the insurance company Old Mutual. The data protection and privacy policies of these pan-African companies operating in Uganda significantly differs from their policies in other parts of…

The Disproportionate Exclusion of Persons With Disabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Evelyn Lirri |

For Persons with Disabilities, access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be an enabler for social and economic inclusion. Yet across Africa, despite the various laws and policies that have been passed and adopted by countries, persons with disabilities continue to lag behind in terms of access and use of digital tools. 

Barriers such as low levels…

How Weaponization of Network Disruptions During Elections Threatens Democracy

By Evelyn Lirri |

In August 2021, Zambia became the latest country to restrict citizens’ access to social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp as the country went to the polls. Citing the need to stop the spread of election misinformation, the Zambian government disrupted the internet in an election that saw an opposition politician defeat the incumbent president.  

The disruption…

Africa Digital Activists Gathering to Weave a Voice That Pushes Their Politicians Towards Democracy

News Update

Africtivistes, the increasingly large pan-African organization of cyberactivists, meets this week in Abidjan with a new objective: to unite to get a direct say in the development and implementation of public policies in their respective countries.

Six years ago, a group of West African digital activists decided to consolidate the informal ties they had built . They were pioneers in their countries, the…

Kenya Adopts The Community Networks Licensing Framework

News update |

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) formulated a Licensing and Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks, with contributions from KICTANet, the entire community, and other partners (the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and supported by the United Kingdom’s Digital Access Programme)

CA has released the guidelines, application forms, and compliance forms for operators to apply…

Media Training on Disability and Digital Rights in Africa

Call for Applications |

In the lead up to the International Disability Day, on December 3, 2021, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is inviting journalists from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to apply for a two-day media training on Disability and Digital Rights in Africa. The virtual training will take place over two full days…

How Digital Activism Is Helping African Languages Be Part of a Multilingual Web

By Evelyn Lirri |

The United Nations declared 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, with the hope of creating a pathway for promoting mainstream linguistic diversity and multilingualism, including in the digital sphere. Currently, there are an estimated 7,000 languages and dialects in the world, of which only 10 dominate the internet ecosystem. Many indigenous, minority and low-resourced languages are…