Kampala 12/June/2019, the Unwanted Witness petitioned the telecommunication regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) calling for an immediate investigation into the weak internal policies and Terms of service of Uganda’s major voice and data service providers. The Unwanted Witness observes that the feeble policies Compromise the rights of consumers and violate the United Nations principles on Business and Human Rights.
Airtel Uganda, MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) and Africell Uganda, all lack protection for consumers’ right to freedom of expression and privacy. It is important for corporations to show they respect human rights and they can only effect this compliance through strong policies and processes.
Under the UCC Act, 2013, the regulator is mandated to protect and safeguard the interests of the consumer while telecom service providers are mandated to ensure and maintain confidentiality of the content of all communications whether data or any information that is obtained as a result of the service offered. This service can only be disclosed to third party with the commission’s written consent or by an order of a competent court of law.
“One of the central measures of any company’s social responsibility is its respect for human rights, which can also be a tool for improving business performance. Unfortunately, in Uganda today, voice and data service providers continue to collect vast amounts of personal data with weak internal policies, likely to compromise consumers’ enjoyment of their rights to freedom of expression and privacy.” Says Dorothy Mukasa, CEO Unwanted Witness Uganda.
She noted that since it is the mandate of the Uganda Communications commission to regulate and register all Internet and telecommunication companies, it’s important that the regulator reviews internal policies and terms of service for these companies and enforce compliance of national, regional and international human right standards.
Unwanted Witness calls upon UCC to further;
- Investigate internal policies and terms of service for all telecom and internet service providers based on the Guiding principles of business and Human Rights, make the findings public and enforce policy review if found short of these standards.
- Enforce Periodic publication of privacy reports by all voice and data service providers for transparency and accountability to the data subjects.