Foundation News|

Change is inevitable, and so is technology is the 21st century. The world is witnessing rapid growth and changes alike in technology, leaving us with the burden of catching up, adopting, adapting and upskilling every so often. In Kenya’s landscape today, there’s several emerging technologies (ET’s) that are prevalent, namely, artificial intelligence (AI), block chain, internet of things (IoT), big data/data analytics, geographic information systems (GIS), biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Out of this seven, big data and data analytics, is one of the ET’s that we utilize on a day to day life knowingly or unknowingly.
The daily use of Internet, mobile devices and wearables are some of our daily contributions to generate huge amounts of data. It becoming seemingly hard to go a day without us sharing our personal information online. Data is a large part of today’s digital world, suffice to say it’s vital to protect this information as much as possible. This is where data security and data privacy come in. Well known Kenyan companies and corporates have fallen victims of data breaches and this highlights the need for companies to be transparent about how they collect and utilize data collected.
Data breaches happen not only to big companies, but also individuals. We go about our lives, ignorant of how our data is being used and this renders us vulnerable to our information falling in the wrong hands. As we visit multiple websites, accept cookies, ignore term and conditions or leave our google accounts logged in in public devices we expose ourselves to hackers and scammers. Identity theft, phishing and privacy invasion are some of the most common ways in which your data may be used to harm you.

Identity theft

Identity theft is obtaining the financial or personal information of another person without their consent, and using their identity to make unauthorized transactions, purchases or to commit fraud. Its committed in many different ways and victims are typically left with damage to their credit, finances, and reputation. We have also witnessed cases where people claim that strangers are using their images and personal details in platforms such as tinder, Instagram and Facebook. Financial theft remains the most common type of identity theft and it has cost people a lot of money and bills for services they did not receive nor purchase.


Most of us have come across this. Phishing is a scenario where scammers use text messages or email to try and steal your account numbers, passwords or social security numbers. Phishing emails or text messages trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment and its risky because sometimes it looks like it’s from a company that you know and trust like a bank, online payment website or an app. This could easily lead scammers to your bank accounts, email or other accounts. Some signs that you have received a scam email or text message are: The email says your account is on hold because of a billing problem, the email invites you to click on a link to update your payments and the email has a generic greeting.

Privacy invasion

The rapid expansion of the Internet continues to raise renewed concern on privacy invasion since “customer profiling” can be done easily on an unprecedented scale. Typically, every move by a user in the Internet can be traced and recorded so that the data may be used for marketing purposes or something else. While companies may us this data to recommend products/services that suite you, in a case where the data is mishandled, your confidential information may be shared on online platforms. Case studies of confidential Medical conditions have been leaked. In extreme cases, people’s personal information such as where they live has led to stalking and ultimately very tragic situations.
Some of this threats may seem farfetched, but we are currently experiencing the fourth Industrial Revolution which is mostly technology-driven change. Without knowledge of how data breaches may cause direct physical, emotional or psychological harms we increase our chances of being harmed. Simple steps such as securing your account with strong passwords, two-step verification, not accepting cookies from just any site or use of antivirus on your devices are ways to protect yourself and your devices.
The lines between what is safe and what is not are quite blurry. It’s hard to catch up with every new trend, app or website, and if you are no tech guru, you have so many blind spots. Thus, the need to familiarize ourselves with what we interact with every day and understand the repercussions of sharing our private information online.

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