CIPESA At the 2022 Internet Governance Forum

By CIPESA Writer |

The global internet governance community is set to convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 17th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from November 28-December 2, 2022. Ethiopia is hosting the IGF 2022 against a backdrop of internet freedom reforms, a recently liberalised telecommunications sector and an ongoing conflict that has seen the Tigray region without internet access for two years. 

The IGF 2022 theme of Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future, and the five sub-themes which are drawn from the Global Digital Compact (GDC) in the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report, resonate with the work of the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).

  • Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights
  • Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
  • Governing Data and Protecting Privacy
  • Enabling Safety, Security and Accountability
  • Addressing Advanced Technologies, including Artificial Intelligence  (AI)

CIPESA will co-convene and participate in various sessions at the IGF 2022 to showcase its work that supports the ambitions of the GDC.

A joint effort by DefendDefenders, Greenhost, Digital Society of Africa, Dig/Sec Initiative, Digital Security Alliance, AccessNow, CChub, Center for Digital Resilience, and CIPESA will run an onsite digital security hub to build the digital resilience of at-risk groups and organisations.

At a session titled “Jointly tackling disinformation and promoting human rights” facilitated by the AU-EU Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, CIPESA will contribute in an open exchange of ideas, experiences and lessons learned on how to address disinformation through a multi-stakeholder and human-centric approach.

Furthermore, CIPESA is among the organisers of the Dynamic Coalition roundtable on Strengthening digital ecosystems through shared principles and the Day 0 event on Shaping global digital governance and measuring meaningful connectivity for all: the ROAM approach, both of which are in support of ongoing efforts by CIPESA and UNESCO to raise awareness about and application of the Internet Universality Indicators across more countries in Africa.

The CIPESA team will also feature on a panel discussion on technology and human rights as part of the Peer Learning Event for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) hosted by Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Further, CIPESA will participate at the Africa member convening of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and at a Digital ID Civil Society Summit hosted by the Open Society Foundations, under the auspices of an external digital ID fund and initiative (DIDIF), housed at Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors.

Follow @cipesaug and #InternetFreedomAfrica

Should Internet-based Firms Explain Terms and Conditions to Users?

By Kofi Yeboah|
There are many users of internet based platforms, like Facebook and Google, who are unaware of the existence of the terms and conditions that are available on the platform websites for users to familiarise themselves with and understand. The terms and conditions outline what is expected of both parties in agreement and also what both parties can and cannot do including with private data. Whose responsibility is it to popularise these often long policies to users?
This question was one of the most debated and discussed at the just ended Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2016 (FIFAfrica16) which was organised by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). Sharing of user data by internet based firms, either upon request by particular governments or other entities has become one of the most worrying factors for many internet users. Users of social media platforms do not entirely have control over who has access to their data, neither do they always have an understanding of the privacy policy associated with using these platforms.
As part of the panel discussion on transparency and accountability of intermediaries at#FIFAfrica16, Ebele Okobi, Head of Public Policy, Africa, Facebook, stated that “terms of service are the main mechanism used by companies to communicate with customers. Read them”. In other words, it is the responsibility of the user to read and understand what the terms of service say. However, most users do not read the terms of service “before clicking accept” and as pointed out by Anriette Esterhuysen of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), firms hide behind that user ignorance to achieve their strategic goals at the detriment of user privacy.
 Do Terms of Service Govern the Relationship?
“Terms of services do not govern the relationship between users and the company,” noted Ms. Okobi. She added that terms of service are the mechanism by which companies communicate with their users on the product. This implies that a firm can take an action that will affect a user with or without his/her permission.
 What can be done?
Terms of services need to be in clear language and displayed boldly for users to read and understand. Internet-based firms should also consciously create awareness about the importance of reading the terms of services and also interpreting them to users. The firms should take the first step in explaining to users what the terms of services actually mean and what are they agreeing to for using the products. Terms of service should be simplified for users to understand the risks involved in signing up onto a platform and also outline how their data will be collected and used.
Meanwhile, users need to understand the rights they are giving up to internet-based firms when they check the “I agree” box on terms of service. On an ongoing basis, companies need to communicate with users to help understand why they need to collect their information and assure them the data being collected will be secured and not shared with third parties without their consent.
This article was first published at on October 10, 2016.

The African Declaration is Key to Reach a Common Understanding of Online Rights Policy

By APC |
“A fundamental challenge in need of urgent resolution in the digital age is how to protect human rights and freedoms on the Internet, and the African continent is no exception.” This is the introduction to the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, an initiative joined by a diversity of organisations and individuals from the region to protect human rights in the context of the internet and digital technologies.

CIPESA at the Internet Governance Forum 2015

The annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) this year takes place in Joao Pessoa, Brazil from October 10-13. We are excited to participate at the forum which is themed “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”, during which we will share our insights on internet governance and related issues in East Africa.
An initiative of the United Nations, the IGF is a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum open to representatives from Government, NGOs, academia, private sector, as well as any other entities and individuals interested in Internet Governance issues. This year’s forum will explore the main theme through eight sub-themes including: Cyber security and trust; The internet economy; Inclusiveness and diversity; Openness; Enhancing multi-stakeholder cooperation; The internet and human rights; critical internet resources; and emerging issues.
Through our membership of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and partnerships with Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Facebook Africa Policy and the Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie, among others, CIPESA is directly participating in the forum in the following events:
November 8 – 9, 2015

  • Deutsche Welle Preparatory Workshop
  • Local Actions to Secure Internet Rights (LASIR) Learning Meeting

November 10, 2015

  • Workshop 187 on Promoting Local Actions to Secure Internet Rights

November 11, 2015

  • Civil Society Round Table with the United States Department of State Cyber Coordinator Chris Painter
  • Round Table – #AfricanInternetRights: Whose rights are these anyway?

Side Events
November 12, 2015

  • State of the Internet in Africa
  • APC 25th Anniversary Celebrations @APC

Follow us on twitter – @cipesaug for updates. Also follow the Forum proceedings using the hashtag #IGF2015.
More information about the IGF is available here.