On September 29, 2020, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released a new report, State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2020. The report focuses on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures adopted by governments to contain its spread on digital rights and freedoms including freedom of expression and information, assembly and association, and the right to privacy.
Open Internet for Democracy Leader, Thato Mochone, shares the outcomes of a virtual multi-stakeholder dialogue aimed at initiating discussions on digital rights trends throughout Lesotho and building strategic relationships among diverse stakeholders seeking to promote internet freedom.
Internet penetration rates are falling in Venezuela at a time when people need access to news and information more than ever.
Open Internet Leader, Thato Mochone examines how governments in Southern Africa are utilizing the disinformation and misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic as a means to restrict the freedom of expression.
Open Internet Leader Gift Agboro discusses outcomes from a multi-stakeholder discussion on digital rights held in Nigeria earlier this year.
South African Professor Thuli Madonsela discusses the rule of law in the age of COVID-19, including important considerations around data protection and freedom of expression.
The use of facial recognition technology is on the rise, particularly among governments who claim that it helps keep their citizens safer. But how do these technologies impact an individual's right to privacy? A new research paper by Olga Kyryliuk explores how facial recognition is being deployed across the European Union, what arguments citizens have used to push back against their use, and how the legal community has responded.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led many governments to enact emergency measures that temporarily expand their powers in an effort to combat and contain the virus. However, the measures taken in response - such as citizen surveillance or restrictions on movement - must be carefully monitored to ensure that their "temporary" nature, justified in the name of public health, don't instead become a pathway for the permanent restriction or abuse of an individuals' rights.
Disinformation can also have less immediately visible but equally dangerous results that undermine democracy by distorting public discourse and interfering with democratic decision-making. Furthermore, because disinformation has polluted online channels of communication in Africa and beyond, fundamental digital rights such as freedom of expression, information, and privacy in the digital age are increasingly under threat.
Ukraine's proposed legislative amendments raise concerns about the future of freedom of speech and the free flow of information.
The beginning of February was marked by a pivotal case in which the District Court of The Hague declared the Dutch legislation regarding an algorithmic risk assessment model – the System Risk Indication (SyRI) – to be in violation of the right to privacy. SyRI, enacted through legislation in 2014, enabled the analysis of 17 different categories of an individual’s personal data, ranging from employment history and property records to their health insurance information and amount of debt. The February ruling comes after policy and human rights advocates questioned whether individuals subject to the algorithm’s analysis knew they were under such surveillance, and whether SyRI’s “findings” led in fact to further discrimination of those already facing marginalization in society.
The fight towards a free and democratic internet has numerous battlefields, but equally important is the creation of a network representative of different cultures and societies and in compliance with human rights standards. 
An electorate ought to be empowered to make their own political and socio-economic decisions, and as such, a public sphere where information is transmitted, received and debated should be protected and augmented by policy-makers as a bipartisan issue to guard against any potential anti-democratic forces that technological proliferation has the potential to foster, particularly in times of heightened pressure including elections. Botswana, often heralded as the so-called “African poster child”, is no exception.
With a marked increase in digital rights violations across the African continent since 2016, citizens have found various ways to protest against governments from using internet restriction as a way to both oppress and repress.
How is a lack of multistakeholder discussions, a digital divide, and pro-surveillance legislation impacting the internet in the Philippines?
How can Facebook's Community Standards harm freedom of expression in a global context? This case study from Paraguay explores this topic.
The growth of artificial intelligence has raised numerous concerns about its ethicality. What should users be on the lookout for - both positive and negative?
To promote a deeper understanding of internet governance and digital rights by local communities in the Philippines, Womenpowered Digital and ICT Davao partnered with the Foundation for Media Alternatives and Internet Society to host an Internet Governance Symposium.
Imagine you are a digital rights organization that has developed a series of materials on digital rights literacy, and now your organization is ready to conduct a digital rights advocacy campaign on a pressing threat to an open internet in your community, country, or region. The task of conducting a campaign on digital rights can seem daunting to some organizations, but there is a five-step approach you can follow to assist you in the advocacy process.
If internet shutdowns become the norm across Africa, the economic development of the continent will severely stagnate, as a large majority of African entrepreneurs, business owners, and technology innovators rely on an open and trusted internet to thrive.
Being experts in the design and use of internet platforms, tech communities can provide valuable insights for policymakers on the development of the internet. By playing this type of advisory role, diverse stakeholders play a role in accountability so that decision-makers can create optimal solutions to global internet-related issues.
The pervasiveness of digital technology has exponentially increased the potential for intrusions into personal privacy, but users are often unaware of how their actions - and the data they inadvertently share - put them at risk.
Are apps and websites that cater to vulnerable communities failing to adequately address the inherent security risks faced by their users?
The Global Network Initiative's (GNI) David Sullivan summarizes the joint GNI and Open Internet for Democracy Initiative-led session at the 2018 Internet Governance Forum, calling for a broader array of actors to join the movement.
Despite the fact that nearly 50 million Pakistanis now use the internet and the number of cybercrime cases is increasing, why do some people in Pakistan consider digital rights as a non-issue?