African internet users need to get ready for an online privacy challenge

While many challenges remain towards more affordable and widespread internet access, connectivity is in motion in many African countries.

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Quartz Media reports that Facebook has become one of the most powerful media platforms in the world. It’s not simply because its users can easily share and spread information far and wide. It’s also because a lot of its power lies in the knowledge it has about those users.

As a result, some African governments are showing signs they also believe the internet giants know more than they do. Like with internet shutdowns, the governments say their concern is national security.

When it comes to privacy, African governments poking and prying in the affairs of private citizens on social media would be doing no worse than some of their Western counterparts. Data privacy advocates and civil society groups raising awareness are vital, but we must all stay vigilant and support a better legal framework for data protection.

The African society must take the time necessary to adapt its own values and structures to the societal and economic shifts that can result from the introduction of a decentralized and open connection. However, there are many benefits to embracing an open and secure Internet supported by inclusive governance frameworks; not only for free expression, but also for a vibrant connected economy.

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