23 May 2019

South Africa: MTN Scores a Dismal 16% for Data Security in Global Accountability Index

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Africa's largest telecommunications operator is failing to protect user data and digital rights, according to Ranking Digital Rights' Corporate Accountability Index. MTN scored a dismal 16% overall, ranking particularly poorly in the privacy and freedom of expression categories.

Ranking Digital Rights, an international group working to protect digital rights and internet freedom, released its Corporate Accountability Index on 15 May 2019. The Index evaluates 24 of the most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies around the world on their disclosed policies affecting the privacy and freedom of expression of users. MTN, the only company from Africa on the list, scored dismally.

Africa's largest telecommunications company was found wanting in multiple categories, including internal governance, freedom of expression and privacy. Overall, it ranked 8th out of the 12 telecommunications companies rated, with a score of 16%. Despite a marginal increase, the MTN Group still trailed behind other international companies such as Vodafone and AT&T.

Daily Maverick asked MTN South Africa, the company's largest branch on the continent, for comment on its Ranking Digital Rights placement. The telecommunications company said it was still studying the report to understand the "mechanisms" behind it, but would not comment further on its placement.

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