The Unwanted Witness (UW) News Brief: Government of Uganda is procuring surveillance equipment to spy on citizens

Kampala, 19th/May/2014; The Government of Uganda is requesting for a supplementary budget of 200 billion Uganda shillings equivalent to over US $ 80,000,000 to set up a monitoring center and procure surveillance equipment to start enforcing the Regulation to Interception of Communication’s Act.  The request is being made under the National Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year (FY) 2014 / 15 – FY 2018/19 under Public Administration Sector at page 833 which State House is responsible for.

The Parliament of Uganda passed the Regulation of interception of Communications Act in 2010 to provide for the lawful interception and monitoring of certain communications in the course of their transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service or system in Uganda.

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 properties, the move by the government through enactment of draconian legislations that aim at legitimizing otherwise unconstitutional acts will see the implementation of mass surveillance actions in breach of Article 27 of the 1995 constitution

The Unwanted Witness expresses its dismay about the intended purchase of surveillance equipment in the absence of a Privacy and Data Protection law. We note that the implementation of the Regulation of the Interception of Communications Act particularly threatens the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms and in particular freedoms of expression, thought and association.

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