Balancing Human Rights and the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Border Security in Africa


  • Sherry Bor TripleOkLaw Advocates LLP (Nairobi, Kenya).
  • Nicole Koech Pesapal Limited (Nairobi, Kenya).



Artificial Intelligence, Border Security, Human Rights, Surveillance, Ethical Principles


In a continent marked by its historical pursuit of secure borders, Africa now stands at a pivotal juncture, transitioning from traditional physical barriers to harnessing the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. This transformation signifies the continent’s unwavering commitment to efficiency and innovation, yet it unveils a formidable challenge – striking a harmonious balance between the imperative of security and safeguarding of fundamental human rights and freedoms. The integration of AI in border security, with its utilization of biometric data, facial recognition, iris scanning, and more, has given rise to a host of intricate concerns, including ethical considerations such as transparency and accountability. Privacy emerges as a paramount issue as the data reservoirs amassed at border crossings raise questions about storage, accessibility, and potential misuse. The complexities of personal information management take centre stage, necessitating scrutiny over data handling, security, and safeguards against abuse. Through an examination of historical trends and a detailed analysis of past and present border security practices in Africa, this paper reviews the evolution of strategies and challenges in Africa’s border security. This investigation spotlights the continent’s adoption of AI as a cornerstone in safeguarding its borders. However, it underscores that while advancements are evident, a delicate equilibrium must be achieved. This paper argues that achieving a harmonious balance between bolstering security measures and safeguarding individual rights and freedoms, all within the framework of ethical principles is an attainable endeavor.

Author Biographies

Sherry Bor, TripleOkLaw Advocates LLP (Nairobi, Kenya).

Bachelor of Laws, the Catholic University of Kenya. Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Associate at TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP, TMT Department.

Nicole Koech, Pesapal Limited (Nairobi, Kenya).

The author is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds an LLB from Strathmore University, Kenya.



How to Cite

Bor, S., & Koech, N. (2023). Balancing Human Rights and the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Border Security in Africa. Journal of Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (JIPIT), 3(1), 77–122.