We welcome the government’s decision to enact a law on Data Protection and Privacy but; the Bill should order telecom companies to surrender all citizens’ information collected during the Mandatory SIM Card Registration Exercise and to establish a National Data Collection Center
Kampala, 24th/January/2014; the Unwanted Witness commends the government of Uganda for issuing a directive to the first parliamentary counsel through the Ministry of ICT to commence drafting of a Data Protection and Privacy Bill. However, the law should withdraw all citizens’ information from private hands especially telecom companies and establish a National Data Collection Center to safeguard it.
Our findings indicate that personal information has been misused by government agencies and private companies whereby information is passed on to business entities that have used it in promoting their services through sending unsolicited messages, shared with politicians who use it during elections in soliciting for votes and the continued surveillance of opposition politicians’ homes, bloggers, artists, netizen and persons with different sexual orientation among others have all constituted a continued breach of their right to privacy.
“It’s a great move taken by the government to start a process of safeguarding citizens’ data. However, what is important now is to ensure transparency and openness during this process. Citizens should decide how their data should be protected and hold those who will misuse it accountable” Said, Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer
The Unwanted Witness which advocates for the promotion and protection of digital rights and online freedoms and specifically protecting the right to privacy, suggests that the national law on privacy and data protection must be in line with the international human rights and consumer protection standards to which Uganda is a party too, and must include protection from privacy violations by both government and private companies.
We thus wish to recommend to the government as follows;
- Put in place urgent measures that will facilitate wider consultations on the Bill
- Respect the commitments made under the passing of the UN resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age especially scaling down on mass surveillance
- Acknowledge that privacy has intrinsic value, and is necessarily related to and fundamental for one’s development as an individual with a moral and social personality able to form intimate relationships involving respect, love, friendship and trust.
- Redress the procedural challenges and gaps still existing in the SIM card registration exercise as pertaining to data protection and protection of the right to privacy
For interviews, and further Information please contact; Mr. Twesigye Godfrey, Tel; +256-701-807429; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala
The Chief Executive Officer
The Unwanted Witness-Uganda
Plot 41, Gaddafi Road, Makerere – Kampala
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: Telephone: +256 414 697 635
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 Fried, C., 1970, An Anatomy of Values, Cambridge: Harvard University Press