Kampala, 18/July/2014, Unwanted witness Uganda is welcoming the United Nations (UN) report which raises concerns on “the right to privacy in the digital age.” The report revealed a “disturbing” lack of transparency about governmental surveillance policies and practices, “including de facto coercion of private sector companies to provide sweeping access to information and data relating to private individuals without the latter’s knowledge or consent.
Unwanted Witness Uganda whose work is to advocate for open, secure and free internet in Uganda has recorded over four cyber legislations enacted in a period of less than three years that allow “lawful” surveillance. The cyber laws that lack expressed views from stakeholders/internet users include the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act, Computer Misuse Act, Electronic Transactions Act and Electronic signatures Act.
The cyber laws have not only fathered mandatory registration of SIM Cards and mass enrollment or national IDs used by government spy on its citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism due to lack of safe guards to protect citizens’ data in the hands of private companies but also, fall short on the constitutional standards. Article 27 (2) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda states that No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of that person’s home, correspondence, communication or other property.
“The supplementary budget of USD 80 million to procure surveillance equipment in the current budget as well as hiring of experts from foreign countries to build capacities of security apparatus on surveillance imply that Uganda government is carrying out secret surveillance on citizens whose actions should be regulated to conform to acceptance human rights standards at national, regional and international” Said, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer
We have also noted that Government security agencies have also gone ahead to secretively establish internet monitoring centers in major security agencies and cyber crime unit in Uganda police whose powers are still unknown to the citizens raising a red flag on matters of democratic governance and accountability.
The Unwanted Witness call upon parliament to enact a law on Privacy and Data Protection which will be a starting point to protect citizens’ right to privacyWe remind the Ugandan government’s obligations to protect our right to privacy, and other related human rights and desist from narrowing online expression space in the country.
THE UNWANTED WITNESS – Uganda P. O. Box 71314 Clock Towers K’la Uganda | Plot 41 Gadaffi Road Website: www.unwantedwitness.or.ug Telephone: o: | c: Email: o: firstname.lastname@example.org | Skype: o: unwantedwitness | Twitter: o: @unwantedwitness | Face book: o: unwanted witness Uganda