South Africa draft cybersecurity and cybercrime bill misses the mark

Drew Mitnick contributed to this post.  The South African government has closed a period of consultation on a draft cybersecurity and cybercrime bill that, as written, undermines the rights to privacy, lacks transparency, and chills cybersecurity research and online expression. Access Now provided written recommendations to the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development…

U.S. eases sanctions on tech exports to Sudan

This week the U.S. government issued a General License to provide internet users in Sudan with easier access to the web and a wide range of software, hardware, and services “incident to personal communications.” U.S. sanctions against Sudan have been in place since 1997, and previously made it illegal for U.S. companies or individuals to…

Legal battle in Kenya set to determine country’s surveillance future

Access Now Policy Team and Drew Mitnick contributed to this post.  The High Court of Kenya has temporarily suspended the implementation of eight clauses of the Security Laws (Amendment) Act of 2014, which restricts the exercise of human rights in Kenya. In a challenge brought by Coalition for Reforms and Democracy and the Kenya National…

Ignoring Protests, Kenya Parliament Approves Dangerous National Security Law

The parliament in Kenya approved a dangerous new national security law yesterday. The vote was first interrupted by protests outside the venue, and the debate became so contentious that parliament had to be stalled for 30 minutes after elected representatives tore up drafts of the bill and engaged in a physical fight. Rights groups including…

Kenya, the next surveillance state?

Drew Mitnick contributed to this post.  Legislators in Kenya will shortly make a decision with significant ramifications for the privacy and free expression rights of Kenyans. On International Human Rights Day (December 10), the Kenyan Parliament cynically introduced the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill (2014), which contains several sweeping and deeply worrying changes to the country’s…

Obama ignores user rights with African investment plan

Peter Micek contributed to this post.  The White House hosted a summit this week with nearly 50 African heads of state to strengthen trade and investment ties. The Summit highlighted a multibillion dollar new investment program, and put President Obama on stage to answer questions from young entrepreneurs. From its inception, however, the Summit has…

Surveillance in a legal vacuum: Kenya considers massive new spying system

Without warning, Kenyans learned last month that Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms operator, had contracted with the government to provide a new communications and street-level surveillance system. The new system integrates 2,000 video surveillance cameras, video conferencing, digital radios, and a mapping system into a central command center. Worryingly, this contract likely entails many forms of street-level surveillance including…

Africa moves towards a common cyber security legal framework

For several years, African states have been working towards common cyber security norms and regulations through the African Union (AU). Over June 20-27, the AU Heads of State will be meeting where they’re expected to adopt a new Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection. While Access and other partners criticized an earlier draft…

Spotlight on African Contributions to Internet Governance Discussions: Part Three: ITU-CWG internet

Olivia Martin contributed to this post.  As shown in the 2013 African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) Report, African participation in major Internet governance discussions is extremely lacking. In 2013, only 29 out of 54 African countries sent representatives to the AfIGF. Of these 29 countries physically present, there were 195 participants, including government officials, representatives…

What did Africa Get out of NetMundial Internet Governance Discussions?

BACKGROUND NetMundial, the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance concluded recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The meeting’s goal was to develop internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. In total, 1,480 participants from all stakeholder groups were physically present at NetMundial while, there…