Facebook, Airtel tackle trust issues – Mobile World Live

Facebook, Airtel tackle trust issues

16 JUL 2019

LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 – AFRICA, KIGALI, RWANDA: Facebook’s regional head of policy defended its use of customer data in Africa, while a senior Airtel executive urged transparency when using information collected from customers.

During a session entitled Who Can You Trust, held days after news broke Facebook was set to be fined $5 billion in the US for data privacy violations, the social media company’s head of policy for sub-Saharan Africa Kojo Boakye (pictured) highlighted positive initiatives it has undertaken.

“At Facebook we’ve been using our data, the data we’ve collected and the data people have shared with us to create what we believe is data for good,” he said, pointing to its work with humanitarian efforts in Africa such as tracking movement of disease outbreaks.

On privacy, he noted the company had recently updated terms and conditions giving consumers greater control.

Boakye also appealed to authorities to “think carefully about increased policy around data protection,” as he believes data must be able to be transferred across borders by companies able to store it properly.

Data sovereignty
Later in the session Airtel Africa chief regulatory officer Daddy Mukadi Bujitu (pictured, below) took to the stage and criticised many practices around customer data usage.

Among the comments was a call for increased transparency and a concession about the difficulty of related regulation in many African markets.

“The challenge is we have a situation where most of the companies who actually monetise data are nowhere to be found on the continent,” he said. “That provides a challenge from a jurisdiction perspective.”

The executive also emphasised the need for being honest with users.

“Transparency is the key word. There’s no need to put terms and conditions that are complex drafted by lawyers and know those terms and conditions are not read, we need to make it simple,” he added.

“They [customers] need to be consulted if [their] data is monetised one way or another, as we all know at one point it’s been considered a gold mine.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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