Wits Journalism Africa-China Reporting Project Reporting Grants and Workshop 2019 on Digital Identity, Data & Technology in Africa
Deadline: September 20, 2019
The Africa-China Reporting Project at Wits Journalism, with support from Omidyar Network, are inviting all journalists to submit proposals for reporting grants and workshop participation to investigate issues related to digital identification, data privacy, and technology in Africa.
The Project will provide reporting grants of up to US$1,000 to successful applicants, who will also participate in a Digital Identity Training Workshop and the Civic Tech Innovation Forum in Johannesburg during the week of October 28, 2019.
Potential issues to be investigated
The following themes can guide journalists to identify specific topics for investigating issues around digital identity in the African context:
- Regional, national and community government-issued IDs (e.g. plans/promises, purposes/rationales, best practices and challenges, public reactions and experiences, lessons for and application in African countries)
- Private sector data practices (e.g. industry approaches to data protection, consent, privacy policies, cyber security, data sharing, Know-Your-Customer requirements, technology innovations, compliance with regulation, breaches, penalties and positive incentives)
- Governance, regulations, transparency, and accountability (e.g. privacy and data protection laws, CCTV/surveillance laws, standards, codes of conduct, independent oversight at regional or continent-wide levels, grievance processes, procurement processes, litigation, budgets, public engagement, access and representation, data bill of rights, data trusts)
- Technology innovations and start-up companies (e.g. privacy-by-design approach; “reg tech”; the promise of blockchain; the implications of biometrics, “adtech”; privacy-protecting tools; encryption; identities traded on the dark web; de-identification; open-source code; the benefits and unintended consequences of how technology is used or consumed; ethical uses of technology and data; social credit scoring algorithms; artificial intelligence to sharpen identification; hacking; locally developed solutions; futuristic technologies not yet on the market that digitally identify people)
- Foreign partnerships and investors (e.g. private companies’ data collection, data localization, African perspectives on such collaborations, technology transfers, adoption of systems first piloted outside of Africa, Chinese firms’ AI-based identification systems drawing on CCTV and government ID databases)
- Development and security agendas and human rights (e.g. data for good, inclusion, discrimination-by-design, IDs for migrants and refugees, citizenship/immigration issues, humanitarian crises, links to poverty alleviation and youth empowerment, African perspectives on the freedoms enabled or put at risk by a digital identity)
- Risks and harms (e.g. use of identity information that results in surveillance, exclusion, manipulation, discrimination, oppression, violence, financial loss and reputation issues, distrust and power imbalances)
- Trends and research (e.g. emerging issues and use cases across communities, rise of self-asserted IDs, customer preferences, trust in institutions, breaches and identity theft, fraud, technology failure)
- Privacy and user control (e.g. an African perspective on privacy, privacy as a fundamental right/public good vs. fee-based service, consumer rights, the commercialisation of our identities, treating African data as an African resource, experiences with data ownership, Africa-based data agents/fiduciaries)
- Open to all journalists who present Africa-focused proposals. Applicants need not necessarily have previous reporting experience in this area.
Applications must be sent to ACRPapplications@gmail.com by no later than September 20, 2019, and should contain the following (only documents in MS Word or PDF formats will be accepted):
- Applicant CV
- Brief proposal outlining (a) story to be investigated with clear headline; story relevance and significance, (b) investigation methodology, (c) proposed publication/platform, and (d) itemised budget totalling no more than US$1,000
- List of previously published reporting
For more information, visit Wits Journalism.