Monthly Digest: January 2021

Feb. 3, 2021

Whether it's 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 and stories.


Must-Read Articles of the Month

On January 14, Uganda held Presidential elections amidst a disruption of internet access. A directive from the Uganda Communications Commission ordered internet service providers to suspend the operation of internet Gateways, which shutdown internet across the country for five days.

Internet freedom monitor Netblocks calculates that the almost five-day shutdown would have cost the Ugandan economy around $9 billion.

With the blocking of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp ahead of Uganda’s Presidential elections on January 14, in what the government said was in the interest of maintaining national security, citizens took to alternative ways of accessing these channels, including through the use of Virtual Private Networks.

Uganda has over the years continued to use the protection of national security and public order as the basis for disruptions to digital communications. A case in point is during the just general elections.

Many users abandoned WhatsApp after the messenger service changed its privacy policy. Worries that their data could end up with Facebook are driving them to competitors pushing superior data protection.

In the face of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, digital Communications has been at the centre of how candidates and political parties engaged with citizens during the elections. This policy brief looks at how a tech-based election means for electoral democracy in Uganda.

Government warned Ugandans using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) The government claimed that it had the capacity to monitor and switch off the sites of the VPN service providers.

Community Updates

For Unwanted Witness, any internet shutdown should be grounded in the international human rights principles of proportionality, necessity, and legality.

Opportunities | Tips | Resources

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

Digital security is an important means to secure your identity and assets in the online and mobile world. This Step-by-Step Digital Security Guide from Pollicy will help you browse the net safely.

Contemporary privacy and data protection issues are critical across Africa. This summit aims to inspire individuals, policymakers, organisations to take action and adopt best practices that protect privacy while promoting innovation in a manner that mitigates risks in the increasing use of digital technologies. You can get more details here-

Are you interested in conversations on digital policy on Africa, the Digital Rights and inclusion Forum will host diverse skills and capacities for enhancing digital rights and Inclusion on the African Continent and beyond? Register here for more details.

If you have an activity, article or up-coming event that you would like to share with the DHRLab Community, please email or