Africa urged to wake up to growing state surveillance threat

Africa urged to wake up to growing state surveillance threat

2021-10-22 02:14:00 AM

Africa urged to wake up to growing state surveillance threat

African governments are using new technology and laws to increase surveillance of opposition figures, researchers warn, calling for restrictions on the sale of tracking tools and tougher privacy protections.

In Egypt, for example, the report said the government has used states of emergency and the lack of any surveillance law to justify surveillance abuse.Since 2013, when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, there has been a far-reaching crackdown on political dissent in Egypt.

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Sisi, president since 2014, says security and stability are paramount and denies there are political prisoners in Egypt.In Senegal, government officials have justified new laws that allow them to monitor citizen communication by saying they exist to fight “terrorism, maritime piracy and transnational organised crime”, according to Human Rights Watch.

'DIGITAL AUTHORITARIANISM'But even strong buffers against excessive surveillance are not enough on their own, according to ADRN.Robust privacy laws in SA did not prevent the state from abusing its surveillance powers — but an active civil society, independent media and reputable courts helped rein in the state's surveillance over-reach early this year, it said. headtopics.com

“Citizens need to be more aware of their privacy rights and of the surveillance activities undertaken by their governments,” said Tony Roberts, a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) think-tank, who edited the report.Surveillance can be necessary in moderation “when granted by a court of law to prevent terrorism or serious crimes”, Oloyede told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Though mass surveillance is an increasing global problem, the report's authors said the threat is more severe in fragile democracies with weak legal oversight and low levels of public awareness.They called for legal reforms, stiff penalties for illegal surveillance, a ban on the sale of surveillance technology to states proven to be violating privacy rights and greater public awareness to hold government to account.

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Africa urged to wake up to growing state surveillance threatAfrican governments are using new technology and laws to increase surveillance of opposition figures, researchers warn, calling for restrictions on the sale of tracking tools and tougher privacy protections.

Africa urged to wake up to growing state surveillance threatAfrican governments are using new technology and laws to increase surveillance of opposition figures, researchers warn, calling for restrictions on the sale of tracking tools and tougher privacy protections.

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