"Informing You Without Watching you."  @digitalprivacy, Thu 09/22:
The Rise of Chinese Surveillance Technology in Africa (part 5 of 6)

Personal Data Vulnerabilities in Africa

By Bulelani Jili, EPIC Scholar-in-Residence

Digital initiatives have widened the range of personal data collected by African states. This digitization initiative was justified as a way to bolster tax recovery, streamline administrative processes, and strengthen national security priorities. This disagreement was never resolved since the ambitious plan for a panoptic biometric registration, announced by the government in the early 2010s, ultimately never came to pass. Following this outcome, Safaricom launched their micro-loan program, M-Shwari. The database contains information, including biometric information, on Kenyan citizens and foreign residents in the country. Accordingly, the court ruled to pause the rollout of Huduma Namba because (i) there was no practical legislation in place to guarantee the security and safety of the biometric data processed by the state and its corporate partners and (ii) there were no means to ensure that the systems would not deprive access to historically marginalized groups in Kenya. These trends in the application of administrative and surveillance tools are particularly prevalent in a handful of African countries. Crucially, researchers need to examine how resources are leveraged by local African actors to establish surveillance and administrative tools. To be clear, this point does not mean that China does not have an overall strategy in Africa. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School, a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Research Associate at Oxford University, and Scholar-in-residence at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

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