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Grants to investigate digital ID issues, COVID surveillance tech launched

Grants to investigate digital ID issues, COVID surveillance tech launched

The Africa-China Reporting Project (ACRP), in alliance with two of its partners (Paradigm Initiative and Omidyar Network), has unveiled a grant opportunity for journalists to carry out investigative reporting on aspect having to do with digital identity, surveillance, and internet shutdowns across Africa.

According to an announcement on the website of continent-wide social enterprise Paradigm Initiative, applicants retained for the grant will each be given $1,000 to enable them complete their reporting. Applications are accepted until April 21, 2022.

The ACRP is hosted by Wits Centre for Journalism in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Other issues to be investigated, the ACRP says, include freedom of expression online, access to information, privacy, internet access, women’s rights online, digital empowerment for underserved communities, inclusive digital access, data privacy, and technology on the African continent.

Per the ACRP and partners, the objective of the investigation is to unveil the implications of digital identity especially at a time when governments and organizations are innovating on ways through which citizens can identify themselves and gain access to public services in domains such as healthcare, education, employment, bank services, purchases and trade.

They believe such reporting could also play a crucial role in advancing the knowledge and understanding people have about digital identity, such as the latest trends, how information collected about them is managed, and the rights, risks and safeguards involved.

Meanwhile, the ACRP says it will also be participating in the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) from April 27 and 28 in Nigeria.

The reporting grant on digital identity comes at a moment when there is growing adoption of the technology in Africa, with many countries either working to set up digital ID ecosystems or modernizing existing ones.

In a related story, the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL) has also announced a grant opportunity which seeks to support civil society organizations in Indo-Pacific countries to carry out activities aimed at bringing under check some authoritarian policies put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the grant announcement published on the ICNL website, some of the issues expected to be looked into by the grantees include researching and analyzing COVID-related technology such as contact tracing apps and surveillance systems, and leading advocacy initiatives aimed at discouraging the use of technologies that violate privacy and other freedoms.

Applications for grants of up to $45,000 are being accepted until April 30, 2022 or the depletion of available funds.

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