Most civil rights activists have not taken the freedoms online, according to Beryl Aidi from the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
Speaking at the Freedom Online 2012 conference Aidi said most human rights activists have little knowledge on the usage of the Internet.
Freedom enjoyed online should also be enjoyed online, this was her beckon call.
She further argued that most activists stick to the traditional definition of freedoms which only apply in the physical world.
Africans are also less concerned in engaging internet freedoms and rights. Aidi says most countries in Africa are dormant and don’t take the internet seriously when it comes to discussing national issues.
The Net also needs to be secured as an avenue of free speech, she said.
The Arab revolution witnessed early last year was greatly attributed to the speech through the Internet and mostly, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
Most governments in countries that witnessed a revolution, tried to cut off communication through social media and even through mobile phones. Most civil right activists had their online activity monitored greatly.
One example that she gave was that when ICANN opened application for top level generic name registration, there were only 17 applications from Africa amongst thousands of applications worldwide.
Aidi says that civil societies should be trained in ensuring the online security of activists is up to par. This includes helping them use stronger passwords and implement strong firewall protection for their devices.
Oppressive governments have been known to monitor phone calls and internet activity of persons they term as a threat to the government. The encouragement was for activists to take the issue of Internet security seriously and to implement simple security measures.
Aidi also noted that most African countries don’t have legislation that would help to positively regulate the internet and protect internet freedom. With much development in the ICT sector in Africa, governments need to put in place policy to help the growth of the internet as a tool.