The telecommunications company Liquid Telecom has produced a report analysing the African continent’s needs in terms of cybersecurity to ensure the privacy and protection of personal data on the network. Initiatives undertaken so far are few and restricted, lacking overall vision and common supranational strategy.
Digitalisation and cybersecurity
The move towards digitalisation of all aspects of everyday life has both positive and negative implications. Among the latter are problems related to the privacy and protection of personal data. A recent report by Kaspersky Lab, for example, points out that 2016 was the annus horribilis for online safety, with a cyber attack occurring every 40 seconds. Social networks, online banking and online shopping are all opportunities for people to enter the system and put their confidential personal information at risk. This is why nation states and supranational institutions are moving towards setting common regulations that can prevent the problem of cybersecurity. One of the most active in this regard is the European Union which has been working for some time to establish community regulations which harmonise local legislation.
Africa is certainly not free from these considerations. Indeed, the continent is on the crest of a real digital boom. This means that the issue of privacy protection becomes even more pressing. Liquid Telecom, one of the leading telecommunications operators of the area, has produced a report on the issue. The analysis stresses how some countries are launching a serious discussion on cybersecurity. Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa are already equipped with (or in the process of establishing) a specific regulation. Other nations, however, are further behind. In general, however, the report highlights the lack of common strategy. The only attempt in this regard dates back to 2014, with the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Data Protection. Too little to really draw a line of united action, in a similar vein to Europe.