Monthly Digest: August 2022

Phillip Ayazika Sept. 10, 2022

Whether its opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here is the Digital Human Rights Lab's round-up of the last month's most interesting articles, stories, events, and community updates.


Must-read Articles of the Month

Whether it's opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here's a round-up of the past month's most interesting articles and stories.

#WhyID: World Bank and dangerous digital ID systems do not mix

In India, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, and other countries, digital identification systems are undermining privacy and facilitating exclusion, disenfranchisement, and discrimination. Through an open letter, Access Now, Privacy International, NYU researchers, and other civil society organizations are calling on the World Bank to cease supporting unchecked digital ID systems that enable surveillance, exclusion, and discrimination.

How phone-cracking tech props up Uganda's brutal regime

Pegasus may be the most infamous surveillance tool, but it's far from the only one used to undermine human rights and democracy. Israeli firm Cellebrite has sold its dangerous UFED phone forensics tool to the Ugandan police force, despite allegations of serious human rights violations under the Museveni regime. They include the kidnapping, torture, and murder of human rights activists, opposition figures, and members of the LGBTQ+ community

Ugandan Members of Parliament pass controversial computer misuse law

The law also criminalises the writing, sending, or sharing of any information through a computer, which is likely to ridicule, degrade or demean another person, group of persons, tribe, ethnicity, religion, or gender; create divisions among persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender; and or, promote hostility against a person, group of persons, a tribe, an ethnicity group, a religion or gender.

Using women’s data against them

There is not only risk in menstruation apps: this is how women's health data is instrumentalized. It's not just your period-tracking app that could be used as evidence you may be seeking an abortion. It’s your subway ticket, that cup of coffee at Starbucks on the way to work, or your Google Maps search query.

Flicking the kill switch: governments embrace internet shutdowns as a form of control

Internet shutdowns are a tool of authoritarian repression. A new three-part series from The Guardian looks at how governments use internet shutdowns to control populations, what happens when they impact other countries, and how activists are fighting back

New legal guide to combat unlawful internet shutdowns in Africa

Enough. None of the shutdowns this week would pass muster under international human rights law. Access Now's Felicia Anthonio joined the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) to discuss the impact of shutdowns on people's rights and lives, and to mark the launch of a new legal guide to fighting network interference in Africa.

Community Updates

With so much going on it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening in the world of social impact. Stay informed and inspired with our handpicked content from the DHRLab Community.

Women Politicians' Online Safety in the Face of Trolls

As a result of their work, there has been an alarming increase in online violence directed at politicians, both men, and women. Online violence directed at women politicians, on the other hand, differs from that directed at male political activists in that its primary goal is to suppress women who participate in political life through fear, humiliation, and intimidation. In addition, the violence is becoming more severe and sexualized. It is usually caused by sexism and appears to be intended to prevent women from fully participating in politics.

Resource Mobilization in the Digital Age: Highlights from the Defenders Meet.

This month, we hosted another defender's networking, linking, and learning event under the theme: Unplugged but till Connected bringing together several activists, journalists, human rights workers, defenders, technologists, and innovators working to protect human rights at the intersection of technology in East Africa.

Expanding the scope of support against Gender-Based Violence through Technology

Technology has helped shift stakeholders' attention away from domestic abuse and toward the subtle violence, women face in public. If used properly, technology can prevent violence against women in public places. Mobile phones and other ICTs can be used to report sexual assault.

Balancing Human Rights Activism and Self-Care in the Digital Era

Digital technology is important in human rights activism and in improving self-care for activists. Recognizing that human rights activism is linked to occupational liability risks such as stress, trauma, burnout, depression, anxiety, and other related phobias that can lead to mental health issues, digital tools help to strike a better balance between activism and self-care. As a result, digital technology tools promote positive mental health and self-care even when no expert is present. Human rights activists are encouraged to continue using digital technology tools for self-care and wellness practices under the Digital Inclusion COP and other COPs.

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village tomorrow

Digital inclusion is giving people and groups the tools they need to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a way that helps them contribute to and benefit from today's digitalized economies and societies, which are growing quickly

Opportunities | Tips | Resources

Every month, we collate the very best opportunities, tips, and resources for digital human rights practitioners in our community.

UW Policy Paper, The Proposed Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022, A Maw To Freedom Of Expression And Participatory Democracy

The recently passed Computer Misuse law does not suggest anything that is not legislated already. For example, the Data Protection and Privacy Act, of 2019 exhaustively provide remedies to the ostensible gaps that the amendment intends to fill. The majority of the intended insertions creating new and different offences have an effect of unjustifiably and unnecessarily curtailing guaranteed rights and freedoms such as the right to civic participation, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of speech and expression which includes the freedom of the press and other media all guaranteed by the 1995 Uganda Constitution as amended.

How are you solving challenges facing access to justice in Uganda?

Stand a chance to win $1000, Bare Foot Law is looking for innovations, technology-based & otherwise, that are making access to justice more readily available to individuals & communities in need.

The Digital Security Expo 2022

Are you passionate about developing solutions that circumvent cyber-insecurities citizens face?

We are looking for you to showcase your application/tool(s) at this year's Digital Security Expo.

Learn more & apply to showcase your product/ tool/ application

The Unwanted Witness Privacy Moot

The #UWPrivacyMoot competition is around the corner. Unwanted Witness will hold its inaugural moot Court Competition on Privacy; specifically Article 27 of the Ugandan Constitution in a bid to train young legal professionals with expert knowledge of data protection laws, policies, and regulations and to further develop their oral, written, analytical, logical, and legal technological skills necessary for this growing sector. Join us at Makerere University Law School to be part of the inaugural privacy law moot in Uganda confirm your attendance. Book your seat today:

Register For the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2022 (FIFAfrica22)

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is pleased to announce the ninth edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2022 (FIFAfrica22). This year, FIFAfrica will take place in Lusaka, Zambia on 26–29 September 2022. Please note that pre-events will be held on 26 and 27 September while the main Forum event will take place on 28 and 29 September. The Forum is a landmark event that convenes various stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns, and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination, and the free flow of information online on the continent.

Call for Civic Tech Initiatives

The Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) is now open to all East African organizations and initiatives that use technology to address African civic challenges. The Network seeks to connect all practitioners, researchers, experts, and decision-makers involved in civic tech so as to raise awareness and build strategic alliances across the continent. Organizations in Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania are encouraged to join the network.