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Theme C: Protecting Human Dignity in the Digital Age Roundtable 4: Regional INFOethics Workshop Africa UN Conference Centre, Addis Ababa 14h30 – 16h30,

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Presentation on theme: "Theme C: Protecting Human Dignity in the Digital Age Roundtable 4: Regional INFOethics Workshop Africa UN Conference Centre, Addis Ababa 14h30 – 16h30,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theme C: Protecting Human Dignity in the Digital Age Roundtable 4: Regional INFOethics Workshop Africa UN Conference Centre, Addis Ababa 14h30 – 16h30, Thursday, 14 th September, 2000 Dr Bob Day Executive Director: ICT, Unisa

2 Privacy - 1 Constitution(s) should be basis for protection of individuals privacy. Right to Privacy relatively recent – not one of original 17 th century human rights. Globally, this right is not yet well defined. Some view OECDs 1981 Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy.. as an adequate basis for todays privacy policies. Others argue that the world has changed beyond recognition since then – hence the Economists question in 1999, are we witnessing the end of privacy?

3 Privacy - 2 Central issue is to what extent personal information may be used for purposes to which the individual has not consented Suggested new Privacy Principles: – The right not to be indexed; – The right to encrypt personal information effectively; – The right to secure human checking of adverse decisions made on computer profiles; – The right to be alerted to such decisions; – The right of disclosure about the collections to which others have access and which may affect the projection of the profile of the individual concerned.

4 Privacy - 3 Suggested Data Protection Practices: – Such practices should be entirely visible to the individual; – Any feature which results in the collection of personal data should be known prior to its operation; – The individual should retain the ability to disable the feature or application of choice New technologies eroding privacy rights include: – Video surveillance cameras; – Identity cards; – Intelligent agents; – Genetic databases.

5 Privacy and Biometrics Biometrics offer irrefutable evidence of ones identity, eg voiceprints; body parts such as retina, iris, and hand. The use of biometric technology by government, law enforcement and business will grow dramatically in the next decade. The existence of stringent safeguards – legislative, procedural and technical – will be needed to prevent biometrics posing a threat to informational privacy. By applying encryption to biometrics, systems can enhance privacy by putting its power into the individuals hands, not government or big business.

6 Approaches to Privacy - 1 The EU and USA differ significantly, especially on dispute resolution – who will judge and enforce alleged breaches. The EU wants binding protections with teeth, eg: – An independent authority to investigate alleged violations and impose sanctions; – Power to investigate complaints from EU citizens; – Financial payments must be made to aggrieved. The USA is much softer, asking only that breaches be punished by removal of a privacy seal from company web sites, despite their effectiveness having yet to be proved (possibly in breach of the OECD guidelines).

7 Approaches to Privacy - 2 Alternatives from New Zealand and Hong Kong favour a greater role for self-regulatory (or co-regulatory) initiatives, plus individual self –help, plus regulatory and legal action. The model includes: – Statutory requirements of compliance with data protection principles; – Development of principles, but flrxible and user-friendly; – Provision for sectoral codes of practice which can vary the principles, and provide for sectoral complaint handling; – Default complaints and enforcement machinary for sectors without codes of practice; – Provision of appeals, providing a uniform quality control mechanism; – Avoidance of any generic registration or licensing requirement

8 Approaches to Privacy - 3 Possible ways forward: No universal agreement yet exists on the regulation of information privacy. African states should collaborate, and act together to decide on appropriate best practices, models and legislation to handle privacy issues African states should have shared mechanisms to collectively stay abreast of international privacy developments - benefit from global experience, and customise in Africas context.

9 Consumer Protection - 1 E-commerce provides 24 hour shopping, wide choice, and outlets all over the world, BUT rights enjoyed via national consumer protection legislation do not apply. Consumer rights will require international cooperation on best practices, and coordinated global oversight, including: – Basic format of an electronic contract; – Effective complaint mechanisms; – Limits of consumer liability; – Safeguards for the privacy of individuals; – Recourse to specific courts; – Cooperation between governments in support of legal redress.

10 Consumer Protection - 2 In the development context of Africa: Much of the population does not currently have access to banking facilities – the unbanked ICT provides an excellent solution in the form of electronic money and smart cards BUT – more emphasis/research will be required in Africa on consumer protection relating to these electronic payment instruments

11 Consumer Protection - 3 How does the developing world identify and respond to misinformation and the withholding of crucial information – from their own governments, and from the multi-nationals? What can we learn from such cases as: – The tobacco wars – Blue Circle asbestos in the Northern Cape Who retains credibility?

12 Freedom of Speech - 1 On a broader scale, for the Knowledge Society to flourish, it is important that society strikes the best balance between encouraging the free flow of information, including freedom of speech, and protecting the rights of those to whom that information may relate Even in the most liberal societies, bodies within the establishment see some information as sensitive or potentially threatening to their area of influence (or power) Historically, the establishment has established ways to control said information, but usually not transparently

13 Freedom of Speech - 2 What is a maveric and do we need them? They usually identify a major problem, want dramatic changes, are vociferous, tenacious, and often appear to be misguided (but later, sometimes, prove to be right) The establishment prefers incrementalism – building on what they believe, and usually control At some stage, most societies marginalise, even persecute maverics (conspiracy theory?) – label their views as extreme or fundamentalism BUT, where does innovation and entrepreneurship most often originate – the developing world in particular needs to find alternative ways to manage maverics, rather than marginalisation..

14 Freedom of Speech - 3 CENSORED!

15 Freedom of Speech - 4 Change and transformation are accelerating globally More maverics – more pressure on the establishment The web (together with other media) is being used to reinforce the establishment position The web, however, is the first easily available medium to provide everyone, including the maverics with a global voice (providing alternative to more extreme outlets?) Isnt this righting the balance between privacy and freedom of speech? Isnt the openess and global availability of the web what makes it so uniquely valuable? Isnt this what we should be trying to protect most?

16 Theme C: Protecting Human Dignity in the Digital Age Thank You



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