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Cybersecurity, IoT at the AfICTA Summit

Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two of the hottest topics in technology today, with wide implications for consumers and governments alike. On October 13, AMGlobal’s Andrew Mack addressed these issues and their potential impacts at the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA) Summit in Windhoek, Namibia. Speaking via skype, and addressing his 2nd AfICTA Summit, Mack discussed the importance of cybersecurity for business as a key component of the trust needed to make e-commerce and the protection of new African intellectual property. Cybersecurity as a driver of business opportunity is a given, Mack noted. “The question isn’t whether, but only when.”

Speaking about IoT, Mack noted that functionally the footprint of IoT may be very different for the continent. “It will be less about the fridge talking to the milk [an oft-cited way “smart appliances” might work] and more looking about how the milk gets to market, helping improve African supply chains.” Mack said it was important to see African consumers and their data as a source of business not in the future, but today. Finally, he urged the business leaders to help their governments create an open playing field that protects citizens while promoting innovation. A part of this, the BC Outreach Chair noted, lay in increasing the African private sector participation in ICANN and other internet governance forums.

Mack then ended his presentation with four key questions for the region:

  • Can governments work together across the region? Can they harmonize laws and practices?

  • Can we build the knowledge of citizens as the first line of defense? What is the role of business in this?

  • Can we strike the right balance, providing security while promoting innovation and new business growth opportunities?

  • How will this change the relationship between the citizen, government and business as more and more is known about our everyday lives? How will this affect culture and business culture?

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