Issue papers

Human rights impacts of taxing popular internet services: The cases of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Human rights impacts of taxing popular internet services: The cases of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda 29 November 2018 Justine Limpitlaw

This paper focuses on recent initiatives in three countries (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) to “tax” the internet through introducing excise duties on, essentially, internet access and/or use. The East African focus was not intentional, as these kinds of taxation initiatives are occurring in a number of regions in Africa. However, these are countries that have made actual legal enactments (whether statutory or regulatory) that are in force. The paper considers the current position of each co...

Network infrastructures: The commons model for local participation, governance and sustainability
Network infrastructures: The commons model for local participation, governance and sustainability 20 February 2018 Leandro Navarro

Network infrastructures provide connectivity, a critical resource for our digital lives, and are therefore key for social inclusion and public participation. There are many technical, economic and operational ways to provide internet connectivity. In this paper we describe a model to develop network infrastructure as common property, governed under the principles of common-pool resources. The model is based on the principles of cooperation instead of competition – because universal connect...

Perspectives on universal free access to online information in South Africa: Free public Wi-Fi and zero-rated content
Perspectives on universal free access to online information in South Africa: Free public Wi-Fi and zero-rated content 27 September 2017 This paper was prepared for APC by Applied Law & Technology Ltd, in collaboration with the South African National Editors’ Forum, Media Monitoring Africa, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa

The ability to receive and impart information online, in particular through the internet, has become central to the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms. It enables people to engage in an array of learning experiences, build information and knowledge societies, foster public and private debate, establish organisations, and contribute to public interest innovation. Thr...

Due diligence and accountability for online violence against women
Due diligence and accountability for online violence against women 31 July 2017 Zarizana Abdul Aziz

This paper explores what online violence against women is; what can be done to stem and ultimately eliminate it; and whose responsibility it is to do so. It does this by building upon the issues identified in two research projects, namely the research on state accountability to eliminate violence against women by the Due Diligence Project (DDP) and the research on corporate and state remedies f...

A feminist action framework on development and digital technologies
A feminist action framework on development and digital technologies 29 May 2017 Anita Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami

Through a feminist lens that brings together economic justice and gender justice concerns, this paper traces the key elements of the right to access, right to knowledge and right to development in the network society context. It highlights how this three-pronged approach to scoping the “right to communicate” can serve as a guiding framework for feminist analysis and action at the intersecti...

A history of feminist engagement with development and digital technologies
A history of feminist engagement with development and digital technologies 29 May 2017 Anita Gurumurthy

As the warp and weft of all social systems change with the indelible mark of the internet and digital technologies, there is a destabilisation of norms and rules. This is true for national and global institutions – from trade, commerce, financial markets, work arrangements, etc. to social and cultural arenas of communication, media and knowledge. The flux we are witness to can be harnessed by...

Big data and sexual surveillance
Big data and sexual surveillance 09 December 2016 Nicole Shephard

Surveillance has historically functioned as an oppressive tool to control women’s bodies and is closely related to colonial modes of managing populations. Big data, metadata and the technologies used to collect, store and analyse them are by no means neutral, but come with their own exclusions and biases. This paper highlights the gendered and racialised effects of data practices; outlines th...

Business and digital rights: Taking stock of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the ICT sector
Business and digital rights: Taking stock of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the ICT sector 13 June 2016 David Sullivan

In the five years since the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, human rights scrutiny of information and communication (ICT) companies has escalated significantly. More governments than ever are pressuring companies to censor content, network shutdowns have become disturbingly routine in many countries, and Edward Snowden’s revelations have und...

Challenges to civil society participation in internet governance in the MENA region
Challenges to civil society participation in internet governance in the MENA region 25 May 2016 Mohammad Tarakiyee

The landscape of internet governance has been rapidly evolving in the decade since the conclusion of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in 2005. The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society not only affirmed the commitment of all involved countries to develop a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society, but also proposed a multistakeholder a...

Digital safety in context: Perspectives on digital security training and human rights realities in the Arab world
Digital safety in context: Perspectives on digital security training and human rights realities in the Arab world 19 May 2016 Reem Almasri

During 2011, in the period dubbed the “Arab Spring”, the internet was a space for mobilisation. Since then, it has also become a space for oppression of activism and dissent. In countries where demonstrations calling for democracy erupted, authoritarian regimes resurfaced in different forms and shapes with intensifying violations of the human rights of citizens. While one cannot ignore the ...

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