Surveilance and Information Disorder in Africa

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Just as the internet has reshaped commerce, politics, social fabrics and the stories we tell, it now interferes more directly than ever with how we process and interpret knowledge and information. States and corporations are increasingly partnering to monitor populations’ behaviors and their information networks. Yet, many nations lack the necessary approaches to regulate these technologies, and international organizations like the United Nations (UN) have yet to provide normative leadership to help promote populations’ data protection and therefore protect human rights.

The ISS funded by ENACT Africa has undertaken some preliminary research to map the use of biometric technologies in Kenya and South Africa to expose the potential Risk to data integrity, and privacy through centralised government databases and CCTV cameras. It has also touched upon the role of foreign actors and how Africa could become a “testing ground” for such technologies and be the site of a type of arms race in biometric data acquisition, unless there is greater regulation, education and public awareness.

Pauwels’ report aims to draw attention to this transformative shift by analysing the impact of information disorders on elections in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The report also depicts the wider geopolitical story behind the instrumentalization of information disorders in elections across Africa.  

To make sense of this transformative shift and oversight gaps, there is an urgent need to analyze its nature, identify its rules, and understand its effects.


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  • Eleonore Pauwels
    • International Expert in Converging Technologies and Senior Fellow with the Global Center on Cooperative Security Karen Allen
    • Senior Research Advisor on Emerging Threats in Africa
    • Institute for Security Studies
    • Pretoria

Barbara Sabitzer

Barbara Sabitzer KAS

Programmmanagerin +1 (646) 852 -6500



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Auslandsbüro New York