As part of a collaborative research project between the Right2 Know Campaign and the Media Policy & Democracy Project, a focus group of the South African Communication Association – SACOMM, AFDA Johannesburg hosted the launch of a research monogram by Dr. Dale T. McKinley and Prof. Jane Duncan titled New Terrains of Privacy in South Africa.
Attended by more than 60 media studies scholars, activists, journalists and advocacy groups, the monogram laid out how the current status of privacy and data collection in South Africa by discussing in-depth five focus areas of the research monogram. In conclusion, it was clear that South Africans often do not have access to their own personal information on several databanks and cannot necessarily request correction, destruction or deletion of personal data. South Africa is one of the first countries to have collected biometric data so, a government well versed in collecting data. It is however clear from the study, that many of the databases are from different private providers, and not (yet) interlink able. Also, the amount of data poses a problem for the government, but this should become less of a hurdle with new AI technologies that use algorithms to sort, evaluate and use data. More importantly however, there seems to be no general interest from the public to keep their personal data secure. The implications of an “open door” data policy is not clear to the general public.
Prof. Duncan (University of Johannesburg) and Dr. McKinley with discussants from the University of the Witwatersrand and the OUTA Campaign office discussed ways how the general public can be informed about their rights.
SACOMM is an academic body which has set itself the goal to encourage dialogue among academics and scholars, by means of this contact and co-operation among various departments in tertiary education institutions offering Communication Studies, as well as acknowledged communication research bodies and communication practitioners. The Head of Postgraduate Studies on the AFDA Johannesburg campus, François Smit is on the Executive Committee of SACOMM representing the Screen Studies interest group. Annually, SACOMM hosts a conference at a different University in Southern Africa to debate current topics and to exchange know-how and research. In 2017, Rhodes University will be hosting the conference. SACOMM 2017 CONFERENCE THEME: Locating the power of communication in a time of radical change.
To download the full research Monogram please follow the link to the Right2Know Campaign Website: http://www.r2k.org.za/
For the Call for Abstracts for the 2017 SACOMM Conference, please follow the link to the SACOMM website.: http://www.sacomm.org.za/