The RIA Podcast

By Research ICT Africa

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Technology and digital policy news and insights from an African perspective

Episode Date
South Africa's new COVID-19 contact tracing app
On this 8th episode of the RIA podcast we are discussing COVID-19 contact tracing with Dr. David Johnson from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cape Town. David has recently conducted research on contact tracing which he will be discussing, as well as South Africa's new contact tracing app, COVID Alert. In it we talk about contact tracing at both technological and non-technological levels. First we will discuss what contact tracing is, then we will discuss technological approaches to contact tracing. We will then discuss both the technological limits of, and access barriers to contact tracing. We will also discuss South Africa's previous mobile-location based contact tracing approach, and the WhatsApp and USSD based COVID information app. Finally we discuss the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) protocol, as well as the new GAEN-based South African App, COVID Alert. This podcast is hosted and produced by RIA Researcher, Alex Comninos. The music for this podcast is "Nobody Think Nomo" by Chimurenga Renaissance (feat. Mall Saint). Download the COVID Alert South Africa App on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Sep 15, 2020
The platform economy: Flexibility or race to the bottom?
As the so-called fourth industrial revolution unfolds, gig work driven by technology companies in the platform economy, is being promoted as the solution for the unemployment crisis as it lowers the barriers to entry into the labor market. There are a number of companies that have proliferated in recent years offering gig work or what’s come to be known as microwork via apps, where complexity is stripped away from projects, which are broken down into singular tasks that are distributed over the internet via platform companies. On the higher end of the skills spectrum people may engage in, for example, desktop publishing tasks via platform companies, such as Mechanical Turk or Clickworker, while on the lower end of the skills spectrum - and possibly most famous globally - people drive cars for the e-hailing taxi service, Uber. There are, of course, a whole range of jobs in between in the platform economy, but the distinguishing feature of this gig economy, emphasized in its name, is that is part time work, and people are paid per task, which means that there is no job security or social protections offered by the companies, such as health benefits, sick pay, annual leave and retirement benefits. Gig workers are also often paid below minimum wage. So, gig work has come to be associated with precarious work--and gig workers all over the world are taking these platform companies to court, as they find themselves exploited and experience rights violations. Our guests are two lawyers that have defended gig workers, Prof. Darcy du Toit from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). And bringing us the international perspective is German Lawyer Dr. Ruediger Helm.
Aug 27, 2020
Alternative models for the digital economy - Social impact tech start-ups and platform co-operatives
Is South Africa’s digital economy continuing with existing patterns of extraction and exploitation? Or are there alternative models for economic development? These are the questions that RIA’s Fazila Farouk put to Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, founder of Tshimologong, a start-up incubator established as Africa’s answer to Silicon Valley, which is embracing innovation and entrepreneurship to deal with SA’s triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment; and Fairuz Mullagee, a social entrepreneur leading a team at the University of the Western Cape in the establishment of a platform co-operative.
Jul 31, 2020
Cybersecurity capacity: a discussion with Dr. Enrico Calandro
A discussion with Dr. Enrico Calandro Research ICT Africa Senior Associate and Co-director of the Cybersecurity Capacity Centre for Southern Africa at the University of Cape Town on cybersecurity, cybersecurity capacity building, and the African and South African cybersecurity terrain. This podcast episode is produced and hosted by Alex Comninos, Researcher at Research ICT Africa. The music for this podcast is "Nobody Think Nomo" by Chimurenga Renaissance (feat. Mall Saint). We encourage others to re-use our work so we have given you upfront permission for uses of the podcast (other than the theme music) authorized by the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 license.
Jun 29, 2020
The debate on contact tracing and human rights
Next week South Africa is to phase from Level 4 to Level 5 of the national lockdown. In the fourth episode of the RIA Podcast we have an in depth discussion about contact tracing to combat the spread of COVID-19. We look at the technical basis for contact tracing, International examples of contact tracing, the new South African regulations on contact tracing, as well as the human rights aspects of contact tracing. This podcast episode is produced by Alex Comninos and hosted by Dr Alison Gillwald, Executive Director at Research ICT Africa (RIA) and Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town. It features as guests from the RIA team, Anri van der Spuy, Alex Comninos, Andrew Rens, and Gabriella Razzano. The music for this podcast is "Nobody Think Nomo" by Chimurenga Renaissance (feat. Mall Saint).
May 28, 2020
COVID-19 and Digital Inequality in South Africa
In the third episode of The RIA Podcast, we talk about #COVID-19, South Africa under lockdown, working from home in South Africa, digital inequality, alternative access strategies, lost opportunities in the communications landscape, why internet access is important during lockdown, advanced technologies and COVID-19, privacy and COVD-19, digital inequality and the 4IR. This podcast is produced and hosted by Alex Comninos and features Dr Alison Gillwald, Executive Director at Research ICT Africa and Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town. The music for this podcast is "Nobody Think Nomo" by Chimurenga Renaissance (feat. Mall Saint).
Apr 09, 2020
The Right to Privacy
In this second episode of the Research ICT Africa podcast we talk to Professor Joseph Cannataci, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. We talk about the challenges posed to privacy by AI, the definition of privacy, privacy as informational self-determination, privacy as an enabling right, privacy and security (can they be balanced or is it a false dichotomy), surveillance, South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, surveillance legislation in South Africa, and even blockchain too.
Mar 23, 2020
The City of Joburg Hack
We dial in to Harare Zimbabwe during electricity time (22:00-05:00) to speak to cybersecurity professional and penetration tester Kundai Gwatidzo (@epicpewpew) about cybersecurity issues in Africa including the City of Johannesburg hack, penetration testing, data breaches, ransoms, DDoS attacks, and cybersecurity in the African public sector. This podcast was produced by Alex Comninos, edited by Pablo Aguera, and with editorial assistance by Nils Berglund and Pablo Aguera. Music by ModulationStation on Freesound
Nov 05, 2019