India’s focus on a deterministic and ideological usage of technology to manage the COVID-19 health crisis has not only mismanaged the pandemic, but has pushed the country to contend with Orwellian realities.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided the government with pretext to censor free speech, harass critics, and effectively curb dissent – accelerating what has been an ongoing turn towards authoritarianism in Bangladesh.
We want people, especially those facing discrimination and oppression, to have greater power and autonomy through digital technologies to exercise their full range of human rights online and offline. Check out our achievements in this area in 2021.
In Indonesia, a rise in hard-line approaches to governance is heralding looming authoritarianism. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the government there with the opportunity to further accelerate digital authoritarianism through online surveillance, censorship and online manipulation.
In March 2021, shortly before the elections scheduled for August, then Zambian president Edgar Lungu quickly signed and enacted three internet-related laws, one of which has remained especially problematic into 2022: the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act.
The toll of unrestrained cyber operations on human security mounts daily and as such, discussions and decisions arising from the relevant UN processes need to address them more effectively. These efforts should be guided by human-centric and rights-based approaches.
Namibia has become the latest African country to introduce mandatory SIM card registration and data retention regulations that will have a far-reaching impact on online privacy and data protection in the country.
Australia adopted a range of technology-based responses to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but this approach resulted in “solutions” that ranged from the outright ineffective to the actively punitive.
Recent instances of the use of state surveillance apparatus for repressive purposes and prosecutions, compounded by a lack of data and online privacy protections and low internet penetration and usage, have heightened fears that the country is regressing in terms of safeguarding online rights.
The draft bill would have enabled surveillance abuse and privacy violations. The pressure that was brought to bear by various human and media rights organisations, and the international spotlight that it attracted, paid off and the bill was withdrawn and amended.