Lead iOS Developer at Green Enterprise Solutions, Audrey Chanakira, says data has become a critical raw material for producing digital products and services.
She says Namibia is at a disadvantage because the country does not have its own local systems to protect its data.
"Right now, as it stands, when it comes to data, what are we using in Namibia? Gmail. Where are the data centres? In America, we are buying systems from America that tell us how we need to use the systems in our country."
Chakanira says local data has the potential to generate valuable insights and fuel innovation, but it won't be to the country's benefit.
She is encouraging users to pay close attention to the fine print.
"Obviously, you are encouraged to read your terms and conditions, but no one does because it is way too long, but like I said, it's going somewhere, and unfortunately, for the most part, we don't have control of that because it's either in the apps we use that are foreign, so naturally it belongs to them. We are just using the platform with our data, so the moment you say "I agree", maybe they are saying, "Oh, do you agree for us to use your info in our country and all of that?" We don't even bother with that. The fact that we are using so many systems that are produced from outside and don't have our own local systems is a huge problem."
The iOS developer warns that sooner or later, Namibia will have to buy back its data from whoever owns it.
"As long as we as a nation are still using Gmail accounts, it's technically not our data, and that's the plain truth, to be honest. Now, as it stands, we have to buy that data back to say, "Hey, can you tell us what Namibians like to eat in winter? Then they'll say, "Okay, if you want the data, then you have to pay us," and that's how it works. People make money through that; that is our reality, so that's why we encourage us to have our own systems and try to make our own decisions on our own."
Audrey Chanaira was sharing her views on the advantages and disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence Systems on nbc's Current Affairs Programme, Situation Kritikal.