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City of Banjul
Monday, September 28, 2020

Communication surveillance report launched in The Gambia

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The organsiation’s annual report 2014 was commissioned by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international network of civil society organisations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies, including the internet.

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The report, which covers 57 countries around the world, used the 13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to communications surveillance as a basis for assessing the state of surveillance in these countries. 

Anriette Esterhuysen, the executive director of Association of Progressive Communication said both states and businesses are complicit in communications surveillance. 

“While there is a need for systems to monitor and protect the public from harm, the right to privacy, the transparency and accountability of states and businesses, and citizens oversight of surveillance systems are important advocacy concerns,” said  Edwin Huizing, the executive director of Humanist Institute for Corporation with Developing Countries (Hivos) – co-publishers of the GISWatch 2014 report.

He added: “Advocacy efforts should be directed toward the de-legislation of the International Center Against Abuse of Covert act (ICA ) as well as the 2013 amendments. This should be followed by strategic planning to create a well-regulated sector. Special efforts should be directed at reviewing and amending Section 138 to bring it more closely in line with international standards for the protection of human rights. In particular, it should be made clear that interception can only be authorised by a judge for the purposes of investigating serious crimes and subject to the requirement of proportionality.” 

The launch of the report was punctuated with a training seminar for Gambian journalists and bloggers on blogging and online security. 

The training, facilitated by the publishers of Front Page International (FPI), covered safe and secure browsing, data hygiene, password protection, anonymous browsing, the use of proxies and blogging.

The main objective of the training was to improve capacity and awareness of journalists on blogging techniques and concepts of internet security.

Front Page International (FPI) is an independent group blog published by a group of Gambian journalists and bloggers. It covers news and opinions mainly on human rights with a focus press freedom and freedom of expression.

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