Panel Discussion – Privacy & Pandemics: Developing Privacy Laws and Policies in a Post COVID-19 Africa

Title of Discussion: Privacy & Pandemics: Developing Privacy Laws and Policies in a Post COVID-19 Africa

Objectives and Scope:
  • Highlighting privacy-issues that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic and that have the potential to remain post-pandemic without adequate privacy-frameworks;
  • Raise awareness on the importance of strong, adequate privacy frameworks; the issue of state surveillance activities carrying over into a post-pandemic Africa; and the challenge of ensuring that privacy-laws are designed with reference to disadvantaged groups (including women and gender-diverse persons); and
  • Push for deeper harmonization of African privacy frameworks.
    Create a contextual awareness of the current status of data privacy laws in Africa (including what regional and continental privacy-frameworks exist in Africa); and
  • Gather opinions on best-approaches to inclusive, African-centric privacy frameworks.

The scope of the workshop will include the following policy questions:

  1. How can the right to privacy in Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights be protected and enforced in nation states who do not have national privacy frameworks / who have outdated or inadequate privacy frameworks?
  2. How can we provide for the systematic protection of women, and gender diverse people’s personal data, during and after a pandemic?
  3. To what extent can African privacy-law frameworks be harmonized post-COVID-19 to strengthen the right to privacy on a continental level?
  4. How can privacy-respecting track-and-trace systems be designed and implemented in an African context, considering the lack of access to technological devices/low internet penetration in Africa?

Expected results:

  • The expected outcome of the Workshop is to have created a forum for a multi-stakeholder discussion on privacy issues, both generally, and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It is an expected outcome that the take-aways from the Workshop may inform and stimulate novel policy stances of various-stakeholders including academia, civil society and government.
  • The output would include a Report on the discussions and take-aways in the Workshop.


Pria Chetty (Moderator) consults global regional and national trends in technology law and policy to advise clients including tech multinationals, tech start-ups, governmental and non-governmental organizations – in Africa and globally. Pria has presented internationally and published journal articles, book chapter contributions, and conference papers. Pria has had over 15 years of experience and a Masters in ICT Policy and Regulation.

Alex B. Makulilo is a Professor of Law and Technology at the Open University of Tanzania. He is the Co-Director and Chairperson of the African Law and Technology Institute. His most recent publication African Data Privacy Laws (2016), Springer, is a pioneering work in the field of data privacy in Africa. Professor Makulilo has also published widely journal articles on many aspects of computer law and information technology.

Tomiwa Ilori is a policy analyst and researcher. He has interests in the intersections of human rights and digital technologies. His focus is on how these technologies deregulate the public space for underserved communities and influence public policy.

Murray Hunter is a researcher on digital rights and author of a children’s book about surveillance. Up until early 2019, Murray also coordinated advocacy at the Right2Know Campaign.

Alon Alkalay is an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa holding a BA.LLB and an LLM in Information and Communications law. Alon is a Technology Law Advisor at EndCode whose work involves advising start-ups and established technology companies on contracts, compliance, and legal risk, as well as conducting research on emerging issues in technology law and policy in Africa. His core interests revolve around data-protection, privacy, and ethical AI.