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MONTHLY BULLETIN - AUGUST

August was a great month for AIRA and its members. Mr. Gbenga Sesan the ED of Paradigm Initiative (PIN) was appointed as one of the 10 eminent and high- level members of the Inaugural Internet Governance Internet Forum (IGF) leadership panel. The other key highlight was the elections in Kenya, in which AIRA members in Kenya, including KICTANet, who deployed digital election monitors. They continue to keep the public updated on key election related issues. Here are some specific initiatives that our members carried out in the past month, as well as plans for September 2022:

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Paradigm Initiative

1. Paradigm Initiative launched a radio drama series, 'Crime and Prejudice', with support from Internews ADAPT. The drama series discusses the importance of privacy and data protection. You can listen to it on Paradigm Initiative’s YouTube page here.



2. Paradigm Initiative (PIN) together with partners issued an Open Letter to Angola Government Authorities on Respect for Digital Rights During Elections. They among others urged the government to consider the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa in providing access to information and proactively disclosing relevant information for an informed electorate. Access it here



3. Paradigm Initiative (PIN) launched a consultation process to better understand the needs, gaps and position of civil society organisations in Nigeria on Artificial Intelligence. This is after Nigeria became the first country in Africa to institutionalize a National Centre of AI and Robotics (NCAIR). The consultation process will enable the CSOs to get the knowledge to put in a position paper to guide NCAIR in adopting human rights centric approach to deploying AI. The consultation will take place on 30thAugust 2022 on Zoom. Sign up to attend: https://bit.ly/3AIF60o

Upcoming activities:

  • Paradigm Initiative is organizing a debate competition to enable young Africans either support or oppose the topic, ‘Are the Social and cultural norms in Africa impeding the realization of digital rights and inclusion?’. The competitors are drawn from a pool of 321 entries (249 English and 72 French), eight contestants from Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Eswatini, Malawi and Nigeria have been shortlisted to compete in the semi-finals (second round). The final winner (both French and English categories) will be announced during the PIN Festival which will be held in Harare, Zimbabwe between October 10th and 14th, 2022. Read more about it here.
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Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa - CIPESA

1. CIPESA’s submitted Comments on the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to Parliament. that emphasized that whilst an amendment might be necessary to address emerging technologies, the proposed provisions were unfounded, redundant, and stipulated highly punitive penalties. The amendments also failed to address existing retrogressive provisions including section 24 on cyber harassment and section 25 on offensive communication, which have been used to criminalise freedom of expression. The Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance recommended that the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 be put on hold, and await the Information and Communications Bill, 2022 that would be more comprehensive.

2. CIPESA released a report titled; Privacy Imperiled: Analysis of Surveillance Encryption and Data Localisation Laws in Africa. The report maps and analyses the laws and policies that impact on privacy, notably those that regulate surveillance, limitations on encryption, data localisation, and biometric databases. This analysis could inform remedial and mitigatory steps to protect the right to privacy, which may include strategic litigation and advocacy for legislative and policy reforms.

    Upcoming activities:

    • CIPESA will convene the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2022 (FIFAfrica22) in Lusaka this September 26-29, 2022. The landmark event convenes a spectrum of stakeholders from across the internet governance and digital rights arenas in Africa and beyond. This will be the first time since 2019 that FIFAfrica is held in person. For more information
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      KICTANet

      1. KICTANet released its prelimary election observation report for the 22nd August Kenya general elections. The report presents a summary of the key findings of the election observation mission during Kenya’s general election held on Aug 9, 2022.Progressive steps were noted in the use of technology by the IEBC, and by the public. Read more from the report

      2. KICTANet continues to share insights in its Policy Briefs. In August KICTANet issued a policy brief on ‘Data Protection and Privacy: A Gender Perspective’. The brief notes that whilst Kenya's National ICT Policy (2019) is the main policy instrument highlighting ICT-related priorities in Kenya, the policy provides that the state shall seek to provide an all-inclusive ICT environment by encouraging equality and accessibility. However, this principle is cast in general terms, and does not directly address women's online experiences. Check it here

      3. Continuing its work on data protection and online safety, KICTANet will conduct a digital security training for women politicians. KICTANet proudly notes the increased participation of women in Kenya's August 2022 general elections, where women won more seats in top levels of governance. This training is part of the [email protected] program to create safer spaces for women online.

      Upcoming activities:

      • KICTANet will continue to promote cyber hygiene awareness for marginalised populations, and provide Cyber hygiene tips #CyberHygieneKe Check out some tips here
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          Article 19 Eastern Africa

          1. ARTICLE 19 in collaboration with The Commission on Administrative Justice Office of the Ombudsman, Government of Kenya and Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria conducted a series of multi-stakeholder workshops on access to information and elections in Kenya. The workshops brought together various stakeholders including media, civil society, law enforcement, election management and observer groups and other state institutions in a bid to sensitize them on their #accesstoinformation obligations as provided by the Africa Commission Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (2017)

          

          2. Article 19 Eastern Africa issued a statement upon the launch of the Global Witness Report in Kenya “Kenya: Social media platforms must act on hate speech ahead of elections” This followed the release by Global Witness of their findings from a study of Facebook’s content moderation in Kenya, specifically relating to advertisements involving hate speech. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa shared its concern with the findings of the report that indicate that Facebook’s systems failed to detect hate speech in advertisements in both Kiswahili and English. Over the past year, research by ARTICLE 19 showed a consistent failure by platforms to adequately moderate content in Kenya. Article 19 Eastern Africa called upon Facebook and other platforms to properly resource content moderation in all the countries in which they operate, especially African countries, including paying content moderators a fair wage, allowing them to unionise and providing them with psychological support.

          Upcoming activities:

          • Article 19 continues its engagement with key stakeholders on the need to protect and promote freedom of expression, association and assembly in the region.
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              CIPIT

              1. CIPIT and Unwanted Witness hosted a webinar on: ‘What You Need to Know About Your Digital Trail: Privacy in the Era of Datafication’. The panel discussed the data protection enforcement challenges faced by the East and Central African countries and key actionable considerations. Reflecting on elections - Kenya, Angola and Senegal , the panel discussed the footprint left by voters engaging in electoral processes; the ways in which data generated by voters is utilized; regulations enacted to protect electoral data, and enforcement strategies and gaps.

              

              2. CIPIT produced an article Laws Applicable to Political Micro-Targeting in Kenya’. The rise of online political microtargeting has caused governments to come up with initiatives to respond to the situation. Online political microtargeting has a number of risks such as invasion of privacy since it involves the collection of people’s personal data on a massive scale to identify their political preferences. The data collected can also be used for other separate purposes thus invading the privacy of data subjects. Check out the article here

                

                Upcoming Activities:

                CIPIT together with Unwanted Witness are organizing the 4th Privacy Symposium Africa, 2nd to 4th November 2022, as hybrid event. It is a unique platform established to discuss research, policy, and technology developments related to personal #DataProtection and #Privacy. The call for papers is still OPEN. We invite researchers, students, and other professionals to submit research papers that fit the theme of this year's #PrivacySymposiumAfrica. Deadline: 30th September 2022 Guidelines: https://bit.ly/CallForPapersPSA…

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                  BudgIT

                   BudgIT organised The Active Citizen Awards; one of their signature efforts to draw attention to individuals who lead initiatives that have positively influenced women’s rights, disability inclusion, civic action, press freedom, effective governance and other gains of social activism in Nigeria. The Awards so far received over 300 nominations for the Active Citizens Awards, announced the #shorlist for the 5 categories that were nominated from the public. Thanks to everyone who spotlighted their heroes, & congratulations to our finalists. Access the final short list here

                  

                  Upcoming Activities:

                  • The Active Citizen Awards ceremony will be conducted on 10th September 2022 at 6:PM at Civic Centre, Lagos. Check out more details here
                  • BudgIT, EiE and Paradigm Initiative will host the fifth
                    edition of the bi-annual Pan-African New Media, Citizens, and Governance Conference#NMCG on November17,2022.To reserve your seat, sign up here: https://lnkd.in/dxvGNR3w
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                      Legal Resources Centre

                      1.On Women’s Day, LRC celebrated the women who dared take on inequality and in the process, made sure the rights enshrined in the Constitution are realised by all in South Africa.


                      2. The LRC and 21 other civil society organisation have written a letter to President of South Africa Ramaphosa about the ongoing attacks on civil society organisations by government officials, which they demand should be given urgent attention. LRC and partners argue that the attacks are unacceptable, go against South Africa’s Constitution, and undermine democracy. Access the details here

                    Upcoming Activities:

                    

                    LRC continues to carry out its research on digital rights of children, particularly its effect on the right to education.

                    

                    

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                      POLLICY

                      1. POLLICY released the final report in the three-part series on African Women in AI. The report is a final analysis of the state of artificial intelligence in Africa through a gender lens; it explores the impact of AI on women. Access report here.


                      2. POLLICY held a linking and learning session with the @dhrlab community bringing together human rights defenders working at the intersection of tech and human rights to explore new tools, funding opportunities, and projects within the space.

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                    Upcoming Activities:

                    

                    POLLICY will be part of the Digital Inclusion for the Girl Child Panel at the 6th Connected African Girls: Tanzania Girls Coding Camp hosted by @ECA_OFFICIAL in collaboration @OmukaHub, ICT_Commission_Tanzania and Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) in late August 2022.

                    

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                              CcHUB/I-Hub

                              1. CcHUB/I-Hub Conducted a discussion on the #career path for a career in technology. The session explored -What's the ideal #career path for a career in technology? Join the #Tech career path discussion and engage with recruiters, educators, and industry experts. Get answers to your questions. #DevJunction


                            Upcoming Activities:

                            • From October 3rd to 17th 2022, Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) will be hosting its annual CTIF 2022 hybrid event conference and is calling for exhibitors. CcHUB put out an open call for CivicTech organisation in the West Africa ecosystem, that are interested in building a network with social innovators in Africa to apply to become a member of the Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) .
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                                  Amnesty International

                                  1. Amnesty Kenya reproduced an article; Digital democracy calls for more fact-checking, fidelity to the truth. Before the August 2022 Kenya elections. The article highlights the challenge of misinformation and disinformation and calls on tech platforms to effectively manage the algorithmic targeting embedded in their business models and increase their response time to stop and remove advertising from malicious trending content. For more information access the article here


                                  2. Amnesty Kenya is running a campaign “Let’s talk about the effect of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances on friends, family and their community.’ Listen to this episode of #TheStrippedDown podcast where this issue is discussed.

                                Upcoming Activities:

                                • Amnesty Kenya is seeking the services of an organisational development specialist with experience working with a participatory evaluation of human rights and governance programmes by NGOs.
                                  Apply to undertake a mid-term review of our 2021 Strategic Framework by Sept. 5, 2022
                                  https://lnkd.in/dmg2R-hE

                                    Member Publications:

                                    

                                    • POLLICY released a report/ white paper on Language and Coloniality: Non Dominant Languages in the Digital Landscape. The paper seeks to understand how the digital onboarding of language may empower, limit, extend and enrich user engagement. It also aims to unpack themes of access, safety and usability that the average user in these contexts may experience when using digital platforms for communication and daily life. Access it here
                                    • KICTANet published in its series of blogs on Kenya elections; “Will IEBC publish the Election Computer Logs.” The data in the computer logs in a tightly contested and disputed presidential race can make or break a candidate’s win and therefore It is important that the logs are preserved and availed under very strict and secure conditions in order to be admissible in a court of law. Access the blog here for more information.
                                    • Paradigm Imitative published an Advocacy Toolkit on Internet Freedom and Internet Intermediaries. 'The toolkit is one of the first attempts to produce a resource to support human rights defenders and partners in Africa in their advocacy efforts on corporate accountability and engagements with Internet intermediaries. The toolkit provides strategies that organisations can use to assess human rights practices and respect for internet rights by Internet Service Providers. Access the toolkit here.
                                    • CIPIT published a blogpost on artificial intelligence, “Artificial Intelligence and its Imperialist Roots”. The post examines the large influence AI and its innovations have on cultural, political and economic segments of modern society. Read it here.
                                    • CIPESA released a report titled; Privacy Imperiled: Analysis of Surveillance, Encryption and Data Localization Laws in Africa. This report maps and analyses laws and policies that impact on privacy, notably those that regulate surveillance, limitations on encryption, data localization, and biometric databases. This analysis could inform remedial and mitigatory steps to protect the right to privacy, which may include strategic litigation and advocacy for legislative and policy reforms.
                                    • Policy Published a report; What Is an Ideal Internet to You? A Global Exploration of Digital Rights Trends. This white paper seeks to provide an overview of the core thematic issues around digital rights and digital safety across the world. Access it here
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                                    Upcoming AIRA activities

                                    • AIRA will convene a session on Advancing Digital Safety and other Protections for Children in Africa at FIFAAfrica 22 in Lusaka, Zambia. The session will be co-convened with International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) Africa regional office, and Media Network on Child Rights and Development (MNCRD), Zambia. The session will highlight key issues related to digital rights of children, and explore suggestions on how to collectively create a safe and inclusive environment for children online.

                                      DEVELOPMENTS IN DIGITAL RIGHTS ON THE CONTINENT

                                      Resolution on the Protection of Women Against Digital Violence in Africa-ACHPR/Res. 522 (LXXII) 2022. The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) (the African Commission), meeting at its 72nd Ordinary Session held virtually, from 19 July to 2 August 2022: passed a resolution on the protection of Women Against Digital Violence. Among others, the commission calls on all states to

                                      • Review/adopt legislation that aims at combating all forms of digital violence, and expanding the definition of gender-based violence to include digital violence against women including cyber-harassment, cyberstalking, sexist hate speech amongst other ICT-related violations;
                                      • Undertake research on digital violence against women.
                                      • Undertake awareness-raising programs that target boys and men, as well as campaigns involving all relevant stakeholders.
                                      • Facilitate women’s access to education in digital technology domains in order to remove the digital gender gap, and ensure gender diversity in the tech sector.

                                      Source: African Commission Website

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