APC opened up membership to individual members in 2012, and was joined by seven that first year. By December 2016, there were 27 individual members in the APC network, from 24 countries on six continents. This year, we decided to launch a new section in the APC Annual Report to learn more about, and from, our individual members. We asked them two questions.
This is what digital rights defender and trainer Natasha Msonza responded:
What was your main “discovery” in the field of internet for development, human rights and social justice in 2016? (initiatives, events, networks, policies, etc.)
Because internet shutdowns are increasingly becoming a trend among the acts against freedom of expression used by repressive governments, I learned about the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) initiative and how simple the mechanisms of monitoring and tracking shutdowns are. Collecting evidence of internet shutdowns is essential in formulating advocacy initiatives, for example, in demonstrating the economic cost of such measures. As a result of this discovery, even though shutdowns are not a common thing in Zimbabwe (the last one documented was in July 2016 and lasted a few hours), my network has developed a keen interest to run regular probes and monitor connectivity here so that we establish what normal patterns are, ahead of the 2018 election period, around which we anticipate some interferences might occur.
What was the best technology-related reading you came across in 2016?
The State of Internet Freedom reports produced annually by CIPESA for selected African countries. I did not know of their existence until I was asked to work on the inaugural report for Zimbabwe.