President Museveni’s directive to roll out SPY cameras without an enabling law will endanger more lives

Kampala, 17th/03/2017; the Unwanted Witness Uganda is dismayed by president Museveni’s directive to install SPY cameras on major towns and highways without an enabling legal framework, warning that if the directive is implemented, more lives will be endangered.

The directive follows the gruesome murder of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi on Friday 17th March 2017 by unknown assailants. Uganda has been on spot for procuring Spyware including Finfisher since 2013 and using it against government critics including journalists, opposition politicians and activists.

Article 27 (2) of the 1995 constitution of the Republic of Uganda stipulates, “no person shall subjected to interference with the privacy of that person’s home, correspondence, communication or other property.

In his statement, president Museveni directed the minister of finance to work with police to install spy cameras on all major towns in Uganda and along highways. “We have been planning to do this project for some time but we have been postponing it on account of other priorities like the roads and electricity,” reads part of the president’s statement.

While Unwanted Witness-Uganda condemns in the strongest terms the spate of killings of innocent Ugandans including prominent personalities, we also believe that spying on innocent citizens without clear guidelines more lives will be exposed to abuse by individuals charged with data collection.

“We believe that the government bears a responsibility to maintain security of the country, but it must come with transparency and accountability on protecting people’s right to privacy,” Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Chief Executive Officer, the Unwanted Witness-Uganda, said.

He added that government needs to halt the process of spy camera installation until guidelines are in place.

Since 2016, the parliament of Uganda shelved Privacy and Data Protection bill, 2015 despite the numerous data collection processes by both state and non-state actors.

Unwanted Witness therefore recommends that; Parliament should urgently pass the much awaited Privacy and Data Protection Bill, 2015 into law to protect the citizens’ personal data and privacy