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About Internet Society 23 April 2019

The Internet Society’s African Chapters Join the African Union and Other Partners to Discuss IoT Security, Privacy, and Digital ID in Africa

Dawit Bekele
By Dawit BekeleRegional Bureau Director for Africa

In collaboration with the Africa Union Commission (AUC), the Africa Telecommunication Union (ATU), and Omidyar Network, from 8-11 April 2019 the Africa Regional Bureau successfully gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 103 participants comprising Internet Society Chapter leaders, African Regional economic bodies, privacy experts, regulators, and data protection agencies to a two-day workshop on IoT Security, Privacy, and Digital ID followed by the 2019 African Chapters Advocacy Meeting.

The first day of the workshop focused on IoT opportunities and security considerations. It explored the IoT landscape in Africa and shared active deployments and chapter-led projects. The day also discussed IoT security and privacy considerations with emphasis on frameworks that could be implemented to ensure the security and safety of IoT devices. A dedicated session on aligning policy and IoT security needs shared the experience of the Senegal multistakeholder IoT security process and motivated member states to initiate a similar process in their countries.

The second day focused on localizing the AUC and Internet Society Personal Data Protection Guidelines. Our partners AUC, Omidyar Network, Mozilla Foundation, and UNECA unpacked issues related to digital identity, personal data protection and privacy in the region. The meeting explored the nature of policies in place to ensure Internet users in Africa are secure and discussed legal and institutional frameworks to promote online privacy of people in African countries, including data hosted in other jurisdictions. Among some of the outcomes of the workshop was a resolution to conduct a regional IoT situational analysis to help policymakers understand the state of IoT in the region. With regards privacy, AUC will continue to work with partners to motivate member states to sign the Malabo convention. The Personal Data Protection Guidelines will be used as the basis for privacy policymaking within countries. Our Internet Society Chapters will also rally and act as advocates to their countries to prioritize privacy and personal data protection issues.

The third and fourth days were dedicated to the 2019 African Chapters advocacy meeting, which brought together 30 fellows from 26 African Chapters and one global SIG. During the two days the Chapters’ representatives discussed the Internet Society’s 2019 initiatives, campaigns and projects (with dedicated sessions on Internet shutdowns, consolidation, and encryption), the 2025 strategy, 2020 action plan development, and how they can get involved and implement concrete, relevant activities at the local level. The meeting was also a great opportunity for capacity building, advocacy, and mobilization of Chapters in building and promoting trust in the Internet in Africa with a special focus on IoT security, privacy, and personal data protection.

 Read more about the 2019 African Chapters Advocacy Meeting.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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