Viewpoint: As the Continent Digitizes Rapidly, Africans Need a Bill of Data Rights to Protect Them Online

Friday, June 14, 2019

By Ory Okolloh and Sharon Wekwete

This week, hundreds of activists, technologists and policymakers are gathered in Tunis for RightsCon—the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age. Among the items on the agenda will be a proposal for a Bill of Data Rights by our colleague Martin Tisné.

Ahead of this, it’s important to explore what this could mean in the African context, and how a Bill of Data Rights could help to prevent governments and corporations from overstepping their boundaries by articulating the rights and freedoms of people in digital spaces. This is vital given the accelerating pace of technology adoption across Africa, from mobile money, the digital economy and online entertainment options, to biometric registrations for digital identity systems and voters’ rolls.

Every time people use a service online, book a flight, sign up for an email newsletter, or engage on social networking sites, data about them is being generated, captured and sometimes shared by companies and government agencies with which they may not have knowingly interacted.

Photo courtesy of David Dennis.

Source: Quartz Africa (link opens in a new window)

human rights