Africa: Tech Giants Urge States to Respect Data Privacy

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Shaikh applauds the alliance's creation, but says he hopes to see a broader reaction from these companies and citizens themselves.

"There should be a more global response to the whole NSA scandal, including in the Middle East. People should realise that governments have this power to abuse people's trust, and should therefore demand better privacy, more transparency and better governance of their data online," he adds.

Robert Njathika, economist and research assistant at the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University in Kenya, says the US initiative could also have a substantial impact in Africa.

"It is a good start and a change in the trend, because companies are now coming out publicly to demand more transparency and to lobby the US government."

Njathika would also like the firms to demand similar protection from African governments.

"People will feel more motivated to go to these big companies and ask them: 'Why do you have a double standard in African countries?'" he says.

Google did not reply to requests to comment on this article.

An African Union convention that aims to establish a common cybersecurity framework for the continent may be approved later this month. The draft version includes commitments on national cybersecurity, electronic commerce and cybercrimes such as child pornography, racism and xenophobia.

In Brazil, the National Congress has discussed proposed legislation designed to prevent cyber-spying. Its main

Link to Reform Government Alliance

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