We examine the relationship between cyber-security, cyber-crime and cyber -intelligence. We seek to answer the following questions:

What is the state/condition of cybersecurity legislation and policy in Africa?

  • What are the drivers of cybersecurity policymaking?
  • What would a citizen-centric cybersecurity framework look like? (What is needed to make things better in the future?)

In light of the legislative void on data collection and retention in most African countries and the current passage of cyber-crime legislation, we pay particular attention to three special areas: bulk data collection and retention, bulk equipment interference and computer remote searches and public-private partnerships.


Bulk Data Collection and Retention


Intrusion caused by blanket retention/mass surveillance of data, and the potential cybercrime issues that that raises, beyond the human rights concerns. This track examines issues like how data gathering capabilities should be authorised on the basis of a judicial warrant, rather than gathered a priori with judicial warrants being necessary only to access the data.



Bulk equipment interference and Remote Searches


This track examines targeted hacking and how it can be used as an effective investigative tool with a search warrant and under suitable conditions but how it can also be misused to target civil society and political opponents. It examines hacking into computers for domestic crime investigations and computer espionage done under the guise of national security and their impact on human rights.

Public-private partnerships in cybersecurity

The protection of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) is similarly recognized as central to national security and the public interest (normally the responsibility of the public sector) yet most CII is privately owned and therefore its governance demands the involvement of private and civil society sector stakeholders to safeguard its safety, reliability, and resilience.

Internet Governance and Regulation



Some of the questions we address in our research include:

  • What new forms of governance exist or can be devised to regulate the internet to serve a public good?
  • How can states be held accountable for the policy commitments/promises/narratives that they make in international forums about digital inclusion?
  • What preconditions are required/investments needed for African countries to become active participants in the digital economy and policy space?
  • What are the opportunities and the risks of digital economies for Africa, for example of micro-work?

We examine:


This track inquires whether the internet should be regulated or not by seeking to take an holistic approach to the question of Internet regulation.

Questions asked are:

  1. Is there a need to introduce specific regulation for the internet? Is it desirable or possible?
  2. What should the legal liability of online platforms be for the content that they host?
  3. How effective, fair and transparent are online platforms in moderating content that they host? What processes should be implemented for individuals who wish to reverse decisions to moderate content? Who should be responsible for overseeing this?
  4. What role should users play in establishing and maintaining online community standards for content and behaviour?
  5. What measures should online platforms adopt to ensure online safety and protect the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information?
  6. What information should online platforms provide to users about the use of their personal data?
  7. In what ways should online platforms be more transparent about their business practices—for example in their use of algorithms?
  8. What is the impact of the dominance of a small number of online platforms in certain online markets?
  9. What is the diversity, inclusion and ethical issues that needs addressing on the internet?

Innovation, Decentralised Technologies and Digital Economy

  • Block chain
  • Net neutrality and zero rated services.

Example: Artificial intelligence & Social good

The application of big data for social change represents a relatively new trend. The major ICT corporations view big data as a critical driver to generate new insights across a range of fields, from health care to environment and education. At the same time concerns around big data focus on tracking and targeting consumers.

This track addresses challenges, solutions and policy recommendations on the topic of big data and human rights to shed light on how big data can be used for social good.