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South African Cybercrimes Act is Now Law!

News Update |

The President has proclaimed that, from 1 December 2021, certain sections of the Cybercrimes Act, 2020 will come into full force. The Cybercrimes Act aims to:

regulate and harmonise legislation in respect of offences committed using electronic mediums, and creates offences which have a bearing on cybercrime including criminalising the disclosure of data messages which are harmful and providing for interim protection…

Cell Phone Levy Detrimental to Universal Access To Information

News Update |

Statement regarding the recent announcement of a levy on mobile phones by the Minister of Finance in his budget speech.

MISA Zimbabwe supports the push by parliamentarians to scrap the US$50,00 levy on new cell phone handsets as this will impact negatively on internet access and citizens’ rights to information.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, proposed the…

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 China’s Huawei Technology is Being Used to Censor News Halfway Across The World

News update |

When a staffer at the independent media website Iwacu in the central African state of Burundi tried to visit the outlet online in late October, they received an error message instead. “Hum. Nous ne parvenons pas à trouver ce site;” the site could not be found  – even though the local media regulator had promised to unblock it in February.

A report published in August found…

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…