The Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa Report 2022 was released on April 14, providing a comprehensive assessment of the state of connectivity and digital rights in Kenya.
Highlights of the Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa Report 2022
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The report, authored by a team of experts and researchers from Paradigm Initiative, focuses on various segments including internet freedoms, digital governance, connectivity, and ICT developments in the country.
Under the segment of internet freedoms, the report examines key issues such as internet access and disruptions, free speech and media freedoms, privacy and surveillance, SIM card registration, and disinformation and hate speech in Kenya in 2022.
The report highlights the need for accurate data and statistics on internet use and access in the country, suggesting that the current methodology employed by the ICT regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), and statistics provided by telecom companies may not be reliable.
The report recommends that CAK should consider alternative methods such as conducting national surveys to obtain accurate representation of internet use in the country, to ensure evidence-based policymaking.
The report also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between CAK, civil society organizations, and the private sector in the enumeration exercise, to ensure that relevant expertise and experience are included, and accurate data on internet use is obtained.
It further calls for the government to amend the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Act and redefine hate speech in a clear, precise, and unambiguous manner, in line with the rights and freedoms provided in the Constitution of Kenya and international human rights laws.
Digital governance is another crucial aspect examined in the report, with a focus on the digital ID system in Kenya, Huduma Namba.
The report suggests that the Huduma Namba Bill should be amended to ensure that the system is inclusive of marginalized groups in the country, addressing concerns related to data protection and privacy.
Connectivity is also assessed in the report, with a specific analysis of the Universal Service Fund and its role in bridging the digital divide in Kenya.
The report provides insights into how CAK is utilizing the funds to promote connectivity in underserved areas and recommends continued efforts to improve access to reliable and affordable internet services for all Kenyan citizens.
The report also addresses developments in ICTs in Kenya, highlighting the need for organizations, both private and public, to develop data protection policies, train personnel on handling personal data, conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments, and regularly audit their data protection practices.
It further calls for social media platforms to invest in tools to effectively curb disinformation, eliminate the financial benefits of individuals who gain from disinformation, and work on accountability in their platforms.
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