#DataMustFall

According to the A4AI 2017 Affordability Report, 2017 marks a globally significant annual milestone: • 50% global internet penetration • The Report says:  Though internet access has become a daily expectation for many, this will mark the first time that the scales have tipped toward more of the world being connected than not.  But for the half of the world that remains offline — mostly women in developing countries — this means being left even further behind as the digital revolution steams ahead. Though broadband prices are coming down, they simply aren’t falling fast enough, leaving low income earners and other marginalised populations unable to afford even a basic connection. 

INTERNET PENETRATION – WOMEN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND

A 2017 report by The United Nations Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Gender Divide states:  Policy and practical initiatives to address different barriers to gender equality in Internet access have increased in scope and number since the Broadband Commission’s 2013 Working Group on Broadband and Gender published its report and policy recommendations on the subject. Yet the gender digital divide remains. Indeed, the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) most recent estimate indicates that the global Internet user gender gap has grown from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016. Today, Internet penetration rates remain higher for men than women in all regions in the world, with the estimated gap between men and women being particularly substantial in Least Developed Countries.

RADIO IN THE DIGITAL ERA IS FAR FROM DEAD. VIVA RADIO, VIVA!

In the face of the Internet and social media it is easy to lose sight of the fact that most South Africans still get their news and information from the most widely available technology platform in the country – radio. The top South African radio stations regularly draw listeners in the millions, and research indicates that the average South African radio listener tunes in for over four hours a day.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST WANNACRY RANSOMWARE

WannaCry, the malware that emerged early in May demanding a ransom for freeing locked up computers, has spread chaos around the globe and has also taken its toll locally, in South Africa.  The ransomware was slowed down by a security analyst last week after he discovered a kill switch in its code, but the malware has since been updated without the kill switch and WannaCry has now reached more than 150 countries and 200,000 computers, shutting down hospitals, universities, warehouses and banks, particularly in Europe.

IN THE NEWS

MIT GLOBAL STARTUP LABS PROGRAMME HEADS FOR SA The Johannesburg-based University of Witwatersrand (Wits) has partnered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management to open applications for teams interested in participating in the MIT Global Startup Labs Programme. The programme, for which applications are open until May 24, will take place at Tshimologong, Wits University’s digital innovation precinct, on 24-29 June 2017.

THERE IS A MAJOR SECURITY FLAW IN CELLULAR NETWORKS – ARE WE SITTING DUCKS?

By exploiting the security weaknesses in a set of protocols called Signalling System 7 (SS7) in the worldwide mobile phone network infrastructure, cyber criminals can intercept SMSs and clean out a person’s bank account through Internet banking fraud. Hackers can read text messages, listen to phone calls and track mobile phone user locations with just the knowledge of their phone number. This is the latest example of why SMS is no longer considered to be a safe authentication method for banking.

IN THE NEWS

VALUABLE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON YOUR CELLPHONE EVEN WITHOUT ACCESS TO THE INTERNET  The Cape Digital Foundation is committed to capitalising on the development of digital infrastructure as a means to increase exposure to knowledge and learning for all. mFinance: Check your credit rating on your cell phone TransUnion has launched a new USSD channel offering that will give South Africans access to their credit score and information from any cellphone.  The option is also applicable to those that do not have mobile data or use a smartphone. The TransUnion credit USSD service is a first of its kind in South Africa to give non-smartphone users access to credit information. Consumers can register for the new product by verifying basic consumer… Continue reading

What is fintech and why is it key to the South African economy?

Fintech refers to a new emerging financial technology sector focusing on delivering better, more innovative products and services than traditional financial institutions, and by reducing costs to the consumer. For example, financial institutions are becoming more technology focused. At the same time, big tech companies are offering peer-to-peer payment solutions over social networks and email. Meanwhile, disruptors are providing financial services that, until recently, you could get only from banks or financial advisors.