In these exceptional times, APC wishes to send our solidarity and appreciation for connecting with us. While we are distancing ourselves physically, we continue to stay closer than ever to each other and share tools and resources as well as support.
Many countries today are turning to digital technologies to provide information as well as for monitoring and controlling people infected with the virus, which alerts us to the potential impact of these technologies on people’s fundamental rights.
Over 100 organisations from around the world signed a joint statement stressing that digital surveillance to fight COVID-19 can only be justified if it respects human rights, and setting out conditions that must be met before the use of surveillance technology to fight the pandemic.
The extent to which African countries are conducting technology-based disease surveillance is not fully known. While well intentioned, Covid-19 surveillance and data-based tracking interventions have been effected in haste, and with limited precedent and oversight mechanisms.
7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media warns of Israel committing mass violations of digital rights, especially the right to privacy, under the pretext of managing the health crisis caused by the coronavirus.
While emergency measures like these are adopted with the aim of slowing the spread of the virus in order to protect public health, it is crucial to ensure that any use of surveillance technology for these purposes strictly adheres to the criteria of necessity and proportionality.
The undersigned organisations express their concern over the announcement of the use of satellite monitoring and georeferencing systems to track individuals as part of the disease containment measures established in Ecuador to confront the COVID-19 epidemic.
As the Digital Society develops, more and more people worry that it won’t be the Utopia that internet pioneers once dreamed of; that it might even turn out to more like the dystopias that have featured in film and fiction over the years.
The Observatoire des Libertés Numériques and 80 organisations, including APC, signed this joint letter calling on the French government and parliament to ban any present and future use of facial recognition for security and surveillance purposes.
The tools and tactics of these operators, who are mostly non-African, are increasingly undermining democracy and respect for human rights in Africa, as they enable mass surveillance and disinformation that manipulates and undermines political discourse.