Members of Parliament sitting on the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) committee have sharply disagreed on whether or not the deadline for the SIM Card verification should be extended from August 30th to January 2018.

The legislators’ disagreement emerged while meeting security minister, Henry Tumukunde and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology Vincent Bagiire to discuss an extension request made by mobile telecommunication companies in order to enable full coverage of mobile phone subscribers.

MPs led by Busiro South’s Peter Ssematimba, were against telecoms’ request, saying that it would compromise the Country’s security whereas other others led by Barnabas Tinkasimiire sounded supportive of the request, putting Annet Nyakecho, the committee’s chairperson in the tight corner.

Representatives of Telecom operators yesterday, 21st August 2017 appeared before the ICT committee of parliament requesting for an extension period for SIM Card verification exercise and blamed National Identification and Registration Authorities (NIRA) for the inefficiencies which has hampered their progress. The telecoms also want to gain full access to NIRA data to capture photographs, names and National Identity Number (NIN) of subscribers.

The security minister, Henry Tumukunde told the ICT committee that a meeting between telecoms, Security agencies, Uganda Communications Commission and NIRA shall be convened to discuss the matter.

However Unwanted Witness and other activist groups have continuously warned government against sharing citizens’ personal data without a data protection law.

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