Politics & Society

Photo credit: re:publica/Gregor Fischer

Reflections on the change of societies and political dynamics due to digitization are at the core of the re:publica programme. We are interested in shifting power balances, in societal change and civic digital action. At re:publica we want to talk about what we need to do for a free and open Internet and its relation to the shifting political paradigms on the continent. We want to explore the intersections of technology with politics and society.

In this track we will discuss surveillance technologies, data and privacy protection, e-privacy, Internet shutdowns and net neutrality. We will look at community networks, the effects of AI on society, digital disobedience, as well as new governance models aided by digital technologies.

We invite activists, civil society representatives, researchers and all persons with experience in these topics to help us examine the interplay of technology and society on a philosophical level as well as on the day-to-day basis. We’ll explore the opportunities of civic tech and debate the state of Internet freedom - based on your contributions. Questions we would like to see tackled e.g. include: How do social media platforms influence the shaping of political opinions? How are movements and communities for Internet freedom, digital democracy and open data developing? What social and legislative processes should be initiated to regulate an ever accelerating automation? Can the blockchain deliver on its promise of revolutionizing governance processes?

  • Politics & Society
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    Female and minority representation is central to every democracy. However, we have a long way to go: in Ghana, less than 11% of MPs are women (30 out of 275).
    Together we explore the diversity in the room, the equality challenges we face as a society, and explore how Tech for Good can create change that makes the world a better place. Are you in?
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    What if the people affected by public policies were more involved in writing those policies? Explore the tools and tactics that innovators have been using to support innovation-friendly policy reform through the i4Policy alliance.
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    Internet shutdowns have become so ubiquitous that African governments and others resort to it in times of protests, elections, and school exams. Access Now's Shutdown Stories Project documents the stories of ordinary citizens during internet shutdowns across the African continent and beyond. With this narration, I will share the resilient stories of people that defied internet shutdowns and other censorship measures and continued to protest, organize, elect, and speak without the internet.
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    This session will discuss past and current trends and challenges in regulation of online content in Africa while offering alternative approaches that can enhance adoption and use of these online platforms for civic participation, freedom of expression, access to information and countering hate speech among others.
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    This session will explore how different civic organizations can use ICT in stimulating social innovations both online and offline from a human rights perspective. Further, it will seek to understand what information gaps civic technology faces in developing responsive solutions and platforms - and how to address these gaps in Africa.
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    What does privacy mean to you? All too often, privacy is an abstract concept with little to no relevance to day-to-day life. We would like to explore different cultural understandings and metaphors of privacy around the globe to better grasp how we can make privacy more relevant to more people. Pop in, illustrate and share your image of what privacy means to you! The workshop is accompanied by short inputs from experts on responsible data, privacy conceptions and privacy-enhancing tools.
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    In response to the call of Pope Francis in his book Laudato Si (Care For Our Common Home), Caritas Ghana has set up very efficient collection of end-of-cycle waste of electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) for efficient and effective disposal. Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana together with his team, will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the functioning of the e-waste collection project in an open Q&A format.
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    The nexus between law and tech is strange, albeit exciting! What would the world look like if lawyers fully understood tech and embedded it in the delivery of justice? What if techies fully understood law and built their products incorporating data privacy by design, meeting potential venture partners in between the lines? Would the African digital space be a better place if intellectual property rights wasn't just paper rights? What is the Africa Digital Africa Frameworks?
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    The #metoo movement sparked a flame which devoured and changed the global social justice scene. It brought attention to the epidemic of sexual abuse, exposed deeds of offenders and left a sense of bleak reckoning for abusers.
    Was the effect the same in Ghana? Did #metoo create positive change, or did it worsen Ghana's rape culture? We will explore how the use of social media created radical change in the fight against abuse in the West and the consequences it may have had in Ghana.
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    Data confidentiality of sensitive individual data is a highly valued good. So is the development of social and economic systems. Practitioners from three African organisations that deal with sensitive, financial data of their clients discuss how they cope with the dilemma when it comes to sharing data to set up efficient processes.
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    Tapping the full potential of digital technologies to challenge existing and entrenched narratives around gender roles in African societies. The panel session brings together four experienced feminist digital storytellers from different corners of the continent, each with a different take on what it means to promote gender equality and cross-border solidarity through digital means. This panel will plant a first seed for a new Pan-African network on “digital storytelling, African role models”.
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    This session is presented by Women’s Corner Ghana: Many people, men and women, often wonder if all women’s groups or women’s only opportunities are necessary. They often bemoan, “why is this a women’s only group?,” or “why is this scholarship just for women?” The goal of this session is to explicitly discuss the purpose and importance of women’s only collectives and tackle the difficult questions and misconceptions surrounding the topic at this time.