Newsletter: Fighting Internet Shutdowns and Protecting User Data to Support Advocates and Activists

The Internet is a fundamental gateway for individuals everywhere to access information, conduct business, connect with networks, and express themselves. Around the world, however, Internet users face an increasing number of challenges that threaten their ability to engage and compromise their safety.

Internews’ OPTIMA and ADAPT projects target two of these emerging threats – Internet shutdowns and violations of personal data privacy. The projects seek to build strategies, tools, and resources in order to enable activists, journalists, lawyers and regular citizens to defend human rights online.

Through these projects, Internews works with organizations and activists across Latin America and Africa, providing the tools to assess and advocate against Internet shutdowns and to promote rights-respecting policies that protect people’s private data.

Read on to learn more about the projects that support Internews’ effort to make sure everyone everywhere is enabled and empowered to participate in the digital world.

Four women repair a broken internet.
Women repairing the Internet.

Advocating Against Internet Shutdowns in Africa

Through the OPTIMA project Internews coordinates the development of resources, trainings, research and tools for civil society organizations, journalists, lawyers, academics, and activists to better prepare for, respond to, and advocate against Internet shutdowns. Our efforts are focused on providing local resources, training and mentorship, and targeted advocacy to support anti-shutdown campaigns.

Protecting Internet Users from Attacks on their Privacy

In the absence of strong, proactive data protection policies, Internet users around the world remain vulnerable to intentional attacks on their privacy and inadvertent breaches that put them at risk. And yet, many countries still lack adequate legal frameworks for protecting user data. Even when data protection laws do exist, implementation and enforcement of these policies remain a challenge.

Our Advocating for Data Accountability, Protection and Transparency (ADAPT) Project brings together a consortium of partner organizations in six countries in Latin America and Africa to promote rights-respecting privacy policies and develop best practices around policy implementation and enforcement.

What We’re Listening to…

In an effort to expand and diversify traditionally Europe-centric conversations around data protection, Internews launched the “Privacy is Global” podcast that explores data protection efforts in Latin America and Africa. The Podcast draws on ADAPT data protection experts, legal fellows from the ADAPT advocacy consortium, and traditional digital rights activists in Africa and Latin America. Listen to the first episode: Facial Recognition in Brazil: Automating Oppression?

One More Thing

The Rappler writes about Kikomachine Komix, a comic strip created by Manix Abrera that has taken part in the media literacy conversation. In his comic strip “Social Media Department of Hell,” Abrera tackles how demons train themselves in using disinformation on social media to torture humanity. The comic series was supported by Internews through its Initiative for Media Freedom project in the Philippines.