Data Protection and Privacy from a Youth Perspective

Date:   Wednesday 21st June 2023 

Place: Mercure, Upper Hill, Nairobi (formerly Crowne Plaza)

Introduction and Background 

The digital age is presenting the World with the opportunity to utilise data in critical ways, emphasising the use of data to particularly make decisions. Data is being touted as the new oil. Kenya’s Constitution guarantees the right to privacy under Article 31.  Kenya has also passed the Data Protection Act, 2019, which establishes an Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, whose role is to oversee the implementation of the Act and handle data protection complaints.  

As of January 2023, Kenya had a population of 17.86 million internet users, with an internet penetration of 32.7 per cent. Social media users stood at 10.55 million, equating to 19.3 per cent of the total population which is estimated to be 54.56 million people. Further, 10.15 million people who use social media are aged 18 years and above, constituting 33.6 per cent of the population. The most used social media platforms are Facebook (9.25 million), YouTube (9.44 million), LinkedIn (3.5 million), Snapchat (2.45 million), Instagram (2.2 million), Twitter (1.9 million) and Facebook Messenger (1.85 million). Most of these are accessed from mobile devices, with at least 63.94 million cellular mobile connections recorded in January 2023. 

Youth make up a majority of those who use the Internet, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tiktok, Twitter and YouTube.  They use the platforms to communicate, share updates, get information and news, join online communities, connect with family and friends, engage in discourse on various topics and for entertainment. Young people are also using educational platforms such as Google Classroom, Moodle and eLimu for their educational needs. Online gaming is also popular among the youth, with platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite and other mobile games gaining popularity. Additionally, the youth are using platforms to develop their digital skills and leveraging the platforms for entrepreneurship, building their personal brands and promoting their business on online marketplaces. 

There are several privacy challenges that are presented by digital platforms for the youth. Firstly, youth are not aware of the privacy settings or how to configure them to protect their information. Secondly, they share a significant amount of personal information on social media platforms without considering the potential risks. Third, they face cyberbullying and online harassment owing to the disclosure of their personal information such as photos, videos or messages being shared without their consent leading to emotional harm. Fourth, their data, online activities and location are often tracked by applications without their knowledge which are used to display targeted adverts. Fifth, they can fall victim to cybercrimes such as cyber fraud, phishing and other online scams due to poor cyber hygiene habits and lack of digital literacy. Lastly, they may not understand the implications of granting consent in online platforms which could result in unintentional sharing of information or excessive permissions to certain applications thus further compromising their privacy.  

Moreover, there is a significant gap between the level of use of digital platforms among the youth and their understanding of what constitutes privacy, the relevant legal framework, the available safeguards available, and the oversight, complaints and remedial mechanisms available to seek redress for the violation of their rights. 

KICTANet and Meta believe that the youth have a big stake in privacy and data protection frameworks. Granted, technology and digital platforms can be enablers of the right to privacy. KICTANet and Meta seek to build the youth’s capacity to understand privacy and data protection principles through the examination of their lived experiences and capacity building. In this regard, KICTANet in partnership with Meta will host a roundtable discussion with youth drawn from different sectors to understand the privacy challenges, opportunities and best practices.   

Objectives of the Roundtable

The main objective of the roundtable is to build awareness of the right to privacy on digital platforms, understand the unique privacy challenges facing youth, and equip them with insights and best practices on how to safeguard their privacy in the digital age.

Expected Outcomes 

  1. Enhanced understanding and engagement and the role of platforms in safeguarding privacy and data protection in the digital age.
  2. Identified priority actions, potential solutions, and best practices.

Draft Program

Day 1
Time Session Facilitators
08:00 am  Arrival and Registration KICTANet
09:00 am  Opening remarks and Introductions

Grace Githaiga, KICTANet

Sarah Muyonga, Meta Platforms Inc

09:00 am – 09:30 am Youth Privacy and the Data Protection Act

Representative, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC)

Victor Kapiyo, KICTANet
09:45 – 10.30 am Industry Panel Discussion- The Best Interest of the Child in Practice: Designing for Privacy 

Dr Ololade Shyllon, Meta Platform Inc  (Virtual)

Irene Githinji, Microsoft

Fiona Makaka, DPO, Safaricom 

Adwoa Ankom, TikTok- (Virtual)

Cynthia Chepkemoi – Privacy Expert
10:30 am – 11:00 am TEA BREAK
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Panel Discussion – Protecting Youth Privacy in Digital Age – Experiences, Challenges and Insights on Best Practices

Jeniffer Kaberi, Mtoto News.

Lilian Kariuki, Watoto Watch Network.

Keith Andere, Youth Representative.

Evelyn Kasina, Eveminet 
12:00 pm- 12:45 pm Plenary Discussion
12:45 pm – 01:00 pm Closing Session Mercy Ndegwa
Grace Githaiga
01:00 pm – 02:00 pm  Lunch
02:00 pm – 05:00 pm Youth IGF in the afternoon


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