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Saturday, 7 August, 2021 - 14:32

State surveillance of citizens extends far beyond Pegasus spyware, the software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group. There is a multi-million-pound global market in which companies compete to profit from helping states to illegally spy on their own citizens.

 

Rightly there has been shock and outrage globally as citizens learn that their governments are buying Israeli malware to hack the mobile phones of political opponents, judges and journalists. But the revelations have not come as a surprise to the members of the African Digital Rights Network (ADRN), who earlier this year discovered disturbing examples of surveillance technologies being used by the state against its citizens in every one of the ten countries in Africa we studied.

 

Citizens in every country are guaranteed the right to private communication in their constitutions, domestic laws, and in international conventions that their government has signed up to. The use of bulk interception and mass surveillance technologies, scanning mobile phone messages, hacking encrypted communications, and intercepting internet traffic in attempts to close down civic space and suppress opposition, is a clear breach of these rights. Yet, governments routinely sign...

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Social Media and Digital Rights during Ethiopia’s General Election

During Ethiopia’s June 2021 

Repressive Governments Play Whack-a-Mole with Citizen’s Digital Rights

Like so many aspects of our life, democratic debate is increasingly moving online. Yet it seems like every time citizens adopt a new digital tool or enter a new digital space to voice opposition, repressive governments respond with a whole arsenal of tactics to dampen dissent and deny their right to opinion and expression.

Digital rights in closing civic space: lessons from ten African countries

The publication of Digital Rights in Closing Civic Space by the African Digital Rights Network is the first comprehensive analysis of the range of digital technologies and tactics being used across Africa by citizens to open democratic space online and by governments to close it down.

Trump Disinformation Machine must be a wake-up call

In 2020 Donald Trump was reportedly the biggest source of political disinformation in the world, fuelling social unrest, voter supression

Podcast with Serena Natile

In this episode of the IDS Between the Lines podcast, I speak to Serena Natile to discuss her book, 'The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: mobile money, gendered walls', in which she uses the example of Kenya's extremely popular mPesa programme to critique mobile money more generally as part of a historical succession of finance solutionism.

Covid-19: how can we avoid locking in bad digital development outcomes?

Co-authored with Becky Faith and first published here by the Institute of Development Studies.
 

Rebooting the Principles of Digital Development

The Principles for Digital Development were written in 2012 by a group of international donors and multilateral organisations. They are a great point of reference to guide practitioners applying digital technologies to development programs.

Tackling Toxic Masculinity in Technology Workplaces

Toxic masculinity and everyday sexism create a hostile environment for women in technology workplaces and in online spaces. In an increasingly digital world the male-domination of technology design, software production, and digital content is a serious problem that demands urgent remedy.

 

Top Ten Books on Digital Development

Following a popular Twitter Thread I wrote on this subject recently, I thought it might be useful to have these all in one place. 

 

 

Digital Development: what's in a name?

 

Richard Heeks recently asked whether the emerging relationship between digital technology and international development should be referred to as "Digital Development" or "Digital-for-Development". I use these two terms to refer to different things.

 

Ten Rules of Technology

Nothing is more practical than rules to guide thinking. In this post I share the ten rules I use to think about technology and society. Personally I use them as tools to filter the hype that surrounds technology and to get to the critical questions of who benefits and loses, as well as what needs to be done to secure a more equitable society.

Podcast with Nanjala Nyabola

In this episode of of the IDS "Between The Lines", podcast I spoke to Kenyan journalist and political analyst Nanjala Nyabola, about her book ‘Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Politics in Kenya’. The book focuses on how social media has impacted Kenyan politics both positively and negatively, and the consequences for democracy.

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