Verengai Mabika

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A Critical First Step for IoT Security in Senegal

As barriers to entry start to fall, the Internet of Things (IoT) industry could provide Africa with an opportunity to build a brighter economic future.

Several countries are already establishing tech hubs that could supply the infrastructure to fuel IoT, and while there is still a wide gap between the haves and have-nots of Internet access, with more than 60 per cent of Africa still offline, it’s easy to build a case for connectivity.

Mass urbanization is on the rise, and investing in the infrastructure needed to fuel future smart cities and connect more Africans to the opportunity the Internet offers is a logical step forward. But it’s also important that security is in place to support this promising new economy.

Unfortunately, many IoT devices are rushed to market with little thought for basic security and privacy protections. In a world with so many newly connected things, it’s hard for consumers to keep up – and to know if manufactures are protecting their privacy and security.

To address this, Senegal has taken a critical first step. They’ve signed a memorandum of understanding with the Internet Society to strengthen IoT security. Together, they will develop an IoT Security Framework for Senegal Continue reading

Collaborative Governance Leaders, Canada, and Senegal Exchange Notes on IoT Security Frameworks

Canada and Senegal partners are meeting for a comparative learning exchange on developing robust Internet of Things (IoT) Security frameworks in Ottawa, Canada 18-19 July. The two countries are strong supporters of the collaborative governance, or multistakeholder, model in addressing critical Internet infrastructure. Both countries have already begun adopting the model for domestic policy development focusing on IoT security. The learning exchange is part of the Internet Society supported Internet Governance campaign activity for both countries and will explore issues of mutual interest, connect stakeholders, and exchange notes on the process.

In Canada, the Internet Society partnered with Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CANARIE, and CIPPIC to convene stakeholders to develop recommendations for a set of norms/policy to secure the Internet of Things in Canada. The partners have agreed to focus on two specific thematic areas: consumer protection and network resilience. While in Senegal, the Internet Society partnered with the ISOC Senegal Chapter, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Economy, and the Senegalese Commission for Data Protection to explore the same.

Canada and Senegal are amongst the countries that are leading in demonstrating the collaborative, multistakeholder model of Internet Governance. These Continue reading

The Internet Society and African Union Commission Launch Personal Data Protections Guidelines for Africa

The Internet Society and the African Union Commission (AUC) today launched the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa (“the Guidelines”) at the Africa Internet Summit in Dakar, Senegal. Grounded on principles of privacy, trust and responsible use, the Guidelines introduced another step in securing the African Internet infrastructure and emphasized the notion that good data protection strengthens trust in online services and contributes to sustainable growth of the digital economy. This timely development follows a recent massive privacy breach at Facebook and the much talked about Cambridge Analytica saga which mishandled the data of millions of Facebook users, including many on the African continent.

Speaking at the launch event, the Director for Africa Regional Bureau, Dawit Bekele, applauded Senegal for becoming the first country in Africa to show leadership and commitment towards building a solid information society. “Africa – indeed like the rest of the world – considers personal data protection as key in securing the Internet infrastructure and Senegal has shown us the way by being the first African country to ratify the Malabo Convention.”

The African digital economy is continuing to grow, with the potential to reach $300 billion or 10% of GDP of the African economy Continue reading

Internet Shutdowns cannot be a solution to political challenges in Chad

The Internet Society is concerned with the continuous disruptions of Internet and social media services in Chad in the month of April, 2018.

Internet shutdowns are not a solution to political and economic challenges.

Government ordered disruptions have been reported from 2nd of April 2018, in the context of political protests and unrest across the country.  This is not the first time Internet access has been suspended in Chad. In January 2018, the Internet was disrupted following demonstrations organized by civil society organizations. Again in 2016, Chad experienced an eight-month social media cutoff following controversial elections in 2016.

While we recognize that the Chadian government has a duty to maintain public order, there is little evidence on the benefits of shutdowns in preventing any sort of violent protests. On the other hand, there is growing evidence on the collateral damages resulting from taking people off the network.

One of these damages is economic. These disruptions have been estimated to have costed the country €18 million (approximately 13 billion CFA francs), according to Internet Without Borders. These are extremely conservative numbers that do not even take into account a set of cumulative economic factors.

Shutdowns also affect thousands of local entrepreneurs Continue reading

The Future of Online Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Africa

African experts are gathered for two days (19-20 February 2018) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to contribute to the development of the African Privacy and Personal Data Protection Guidelines. The meeting, facilitated by the African Union Commission (AUC) and supported by Internet Society, explored the future of privacy and data protection and provided some practical suggestions that African states can consider in implementing the Malabo convention provisions related to online privacy. The guidelines are aimed at empowering citizens, as well as establishing legal certainty for stakeholders through clear and uniform personal data protection rules for the region.

The expert meeting comes amidst growing concern across the world on the need to prepare for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be enforced on 25 May 2018. The expert meeting is rather focused on creating general principles for African member states in developing good practices now and in the future. The project, a partnership of the AUC and the Internet Society, comes as a follow up to the recommendations of the Africa Infrastructure Security Guidelines, developed in 2017 to assist speed up their adoption and subsequent ratification of the Malabo Convention.

Both the Heads of States Summit in January Continue reading

Namibia Chapter Launches in the “Land of the Brave”

Namibia becomes the 32nd Internet Society (ISOC) chartered chapter to launch in Africa. Namibia is a Southern Africa country just slightly bigger than Texas, and the 34th largest country in the world , with 2.3 million inhabitants according to the last census (2011). Popularly referred as the “Land Of The Brave,” Namibia is the only place on the continent of Africa where the Atlantic ocean meets the desert.

The new chapter sets itself to serve an important role: being at the centre of Internet development & policy in the country. The ISOC Namibia Chapter seeks to address the digital divide and emerging Internet issues in Namibia with some core objectives:

  • To add value to the Internet ecosystem at its locality
  • To advocate for a secure cyber environment
  • To promote free & secured Internet access for all

The chapter’s key interests in the country include collaborating with strategic partners on community network projects, strengthening local IXPs, as well as issues related to security and furthering connectivity.

The colorful launch event was attended by 111 participants and was officiated by the Minister of ICT, Honourable Tjekero Tweya. An additional government delegation of members of the Parliamentary Committee on ICTs, led by the Continue reading

ISOC Togo Chapter Calls On Togo Government to Restore Internet Access

Today our Internet Society chapter in Togo issued a statement (in French) calling on the government of Togo to restore Internet access. Reports in the media and from our own members there indicate that that the government has shut down Internet access in the wake of protests after their recent election. The president of our ISOC Togo Chapter alerted us today that the shutdown has now even extended to SMS text messages.

As Dawit Bekele, our Africa Regional Bureau Director, recently wrote, we do not believe Internet shutdowns are the solution for governments in Africa or anywhere in the world. In today’s connected world, network restrictions have wide-ranging economic and social consequences for all people.

We join with our chapters in calling on governments to end Internet shutdowns.

Please share our Togo chapter’s statement widely on social media – and help spread the word that we need to #KeepItOn


Update: Norbert Glakpe, the president / chair of the ISOC Togo Chapter, was interviewed on RFI Afrique this morning. His audio can be heard at the end of this article: Au Togo, nouvelle journée de mobilisation à l’appel de l’opposition

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