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Events Open Internet Standards

Hackathon@AIS: Summary report

The annual Hackathon@AIS, in its second year, is aimed at exposing engineers from the Africa region to open Internet Standards Development. This year, the event was held 9-10 May 2018 in Dakar Senegal at the Radisson Blu Hotel during the Africa Internet Summit (AIS-2018).

The event was attended by more than 75 engineers from 15 countries including 11 fellows who were supported to attend the event. The event featured participants with English and or French-speaking backgrounds encouraging collaboration to work. Organized into 3 tracks, the event allowed participants to choose which track they were interested in participating in. The tracks were as follows:

1. Network Time Protocol Track

Objectives:

  • Make NTP more secure (Privacy)
  • Using WireShark NTP Plugin to read/analyze NTP traffic
  • Code changes to NTP implementations to make them compliant with the draft
  • Read and understand Draft RFC

Facilitators:

  • Loganaden Velvindron (Mauritius)
  • Nitin Mutkawoa (Mauritius)
  • Serge-Parfait Goma (Congo)

Participants were introduced to NTP and asked to test out an IETF draft and implement it in open source NTP clients.

Outcome:

Participants were able to successfully implement draft and made presentations demonstrating their work and accomplishments.

2. Network Programmability

Objectives:

  • Introduce participants to Software Defined Networking (SDN)
  • Introduce network programmability, including YANG, NETCONF, and RESTCONF
  • Interact programmatically with OpenDaylight and Cisco IOS XE devices

Facilitators:

  • Charles Eckel (United States)
  • Khoudia Gueye (Senegal)

Participants were introduced to the concepts of network programmability and organized into small teams, working together through a series of online learning labs available through Cisco DevNet. They used tools such as Postman, programming languages such as Python, and network and device level YANG models via NETCONF and RESTCONF to interact with Cisco IOS XE devices and OpenDaylight.

Outcome:

Multiple teams presented what they learned and illustrated their knowledge of network programmability with live demos of OpenDaylight controlling networks created using Mininet.

3. IP Wireless in Vehicular Environments (IPWave)

Objectives:

  • Analyze an IETF draft
  • Test an implementation of the draft using specialized wireless cards

Facilitators:

  • Prof. Nabil Benamar (Morocco)

Participants got to install the wireless cards on Desktop PCs and try out the communication between two PCs analyze the traffic with Wireshark. In order for the cards to work in OCB mode, they needed to function at 5.9Ghz. After patching the kernel (Ubuntu 16.04) the cards were able to run at 5.8Ghz with some errors reported but still enough for the cards to be in OCB mode.

Outcome

The participants got to collaborate in teams to patch the Ubuntu kernel, install the cards and reported their work at the end of the event.

Prof. Nabil has also updated the IPv6 list on the outcome of the IPWave track.

The event was a success with engineers getting to work together to implement and test open Internet standards. Several NOGs indicated an interest to organize similar activities in the local communities. It was encouraging to see several women engineers actively participate in the event and present on their findings.


The materials, presentation and information on the infrastructure for event can be found here, and the photos here.

Special thanks to the facilitators who lead the event, AFRINIC for helping with the venue and logistics.

Read the testimonies of the fellows who attended the Hackathon@AIS.

Categories
Building Trust Events Women in Tech

Great Hopes and some concerns at the African Internet Summit (AIS)

Earlier this month, the African Internet community gathered in Dakar, Senegal for the Africa Internet Summit (AIS). The event highlighted some of the great hopes, as well as some of the concerns, that the African Internet community has for the future.

I had the personal honor of speaking at the Opening of the AFNOG meeting where I talked about what the Internet has brought to Africa and the promise that it still holds. I highlighted how Africa has experienced tremendous growth in Internet access and usage over the past few years, and how enormous development opportunities have been opened up for its young population. Believing that we need to put people at the center of our decision-making and build an Internet where everyone’s voice counts, I encouraged the Internet community in Africa to continue to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equality in order to shape an Internet that best serves the billions of people who use it every day, now and into the future.

In many ways, AIS is a showcase for the progress that is being made in creating an Internet for everyone. Key groups are making sure that their voices are being heard.

For example, at a Women in Tech session we heard about what women in Africa are doing to make the Internet safer and more secure for other women and children. We witnessed an inspiring group of more than 70 young African network engineers – including a significant number of highly skilled women engineers from across the continent – honing their coding skills at our second Hackathon@AIS by working on IETF protocols for two consecutive days. And together with our Senegalese Chapter, we convened over 50 participants from government, private sector, academic, and civil society organizations to talk about the lack of security in IoT devices and what can be done together to meet the challenge this presents.

Last but not least, we were also able to launch a set of Privacy and Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa in partnership with the African Union Commission, aimed at helping African countries develop strategies to protect the personal data of their citizens. These guidelines are both timely and relevant in light of the recent data abuses that have hit the headlines around the world. Importantly, they demonstrate how we can make use of collaborative processes to deliver tangible solutions that address the growing concerns of Internet users.

But in as much as the African Internet community showed its resilience in tackling these and other emerging issues, there were some concerns at the end of the week when AFRINIC could not fill successfully a few of the vacant board positions at its Annual General Meeting. We, at the Internet Society, believe that AFRINIC is resilient enough to surmount these challenges and that it will find a lasting solution soon; and we reaffirm our commitment to support AFRINIC and its community in this process.

Read the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa and the 18 recommendations.

Categories
Building Trust Privacy

The Internet Society and African Union Commission Launch Personal Data Protections Guidelines for Africa

The Internet Society and the African Union Commission (AUC) today launched the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa (“the Guidelines”) at the Africa Internet Summit in Dakar, Senegal. Grounded on principles of privacy, trust and responsible use, the Guidelines introduced another step in securing the African Internet infrastructure and emphasized the notion that good data protection strengthens trust in online services and contributes to sustainable growth of the digital economy. This timely development follows a recent massive privacy breach at Facebook and the much talked about Cambridge Analytica saga which mishandled the data of millions of Facebook users, including many on the African continent.

Speaking at the launch event, the Director for Africa Regional Bureau, Dawit Bekele, applauded Senegal for becoming the first country in Africa to show leadership and commitment towards building a solid information society. “Africa – indeed like the rest of the world – considers personal data protection as key in securing the Internet infrastructure and Senegal has shown us the way by being the first African country to ratify the Malabo Convention.”

The African digital economy is continuing to grow, with the potential to reach $300 billion or 10% of GDP of the African economy by 2025. While digital technologies expand the possibilities for people to enjoy freedoms of expression and the right to access information, some state and non-state actors are moving to curtail what individuals may do online, thus inhibiting the right to privacy and undermining the potential of ICT to contribute to the enjoyment of citizens’ digital rights. Currently, an estimated 25.1% of African individuals use the Internet as of 2017, a small fraction compared to the “developed world” (81%). However, Internet access in Africa is increasing rapidly with sustained double-digit growth over the last 10 years. (Growth has fluctuated between 15%-50% over the last 10 years. Slowing down between 2010 and 2015, and speeding up between 2015-2016. Global Internet Report and ITU Facts & Figures, pages 32-33.)

Within the African privacy and data protection landscape, only 17 of the 55 countries have enacted comprehensive personal data protection legislation, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.” (Cynthia Rich (2016) Privacy Laws in Africa and the Near East (16) 6 Bloomberg BNA World Data Protection Report). Three countries, Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, have proposed personal data protection legislation, but at the time of this writing, these laws are still in the form of bills (and not enacted). Tanzania is in the process of enacting personal data protection legislation. Nigeria, the African country with the most Internet users, does not have a data protection law, and a data protection bill that was introduced in 2010 is still making its way through its parliament at the time of writing.

At the launch, African Union Commission representative Souhila Amazouz noted that the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection  “is considered an important first step at creating a uniform system of data processing in Africa.” The Malabo Convention is a common set of rules to govern cross-border transfer of personal data at the continental (African) level.

To facilitate implementation of the Convention, the African Union Commission invited the Internet Society to help develop Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa. The Guidelines emphasize the importance of ensuring trust in online services as a key factor in sustaining a productive and beneficial digital economy. The protection of online privacy and personal data is a fundamental right and a long-term basis for trust in the use of ICTs. This is a prerequisite for a thriving information society in Africa, particularly with regard to social factors such as ethnicity, vulnerability, disability, and disadvantage. Misuse of personal data threatens fundamental rights, undermines trust, and damages the digital economy.

The Guidelines are framed in an African context and values the significant cultural, legal diversity across the continent, variations in access to technology and online services, and sensitivities regarding ethnicity. Africa also has different levels of capabilities in technology-related law and governance and most countries dependent on non-African manufacturers and service providers. This makes is difficult for member states to develop policies and regulation on data protection.

Among some of the recommendations, the Guidelines emphasize the importance of the multistakeholder model, and provide specific recommendations for governments and policymakers, data protection authorities (DPAs), data controllers and their partners, and citizens and civil society.  Central to the Guidelines are its essential principles relating to online personal data protection:

  • Consent and legitimacy
  • Fair and lawful processing
  • Purpose and relevance of data
  • Management of the data lifecycle (retention, accuracy, deletion)
  • Transparency of processing
  • Confidentiality and security of personal data

The Internet Society believes that good data protection is a cornerstone to the information society and that the Guidelines are a new step in Africa, and build on experience from other regions and jurisdictions.

Read the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa and the 18 recommendations, then read the Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa, a joint initiative of the Internet Society and the Commission of the African Union.