UCC’s directives are illegal and do not cure the existing capacity and legal gaps in telecom regulation and data protection

Kampala, March 12th, 2018; Unwanted Witness Uganda condemns the illegal directives issued by Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) that are meant to easily facilitate phone monitoring and surveillance with total disregard to citizens’ right to privacy and anonymity.


The recent move by UCC to have all telecom operators install Central Equipment Identification Register without a law guiding its establishment and functionality is a blatant violation of fundamental freedoms and shunning away from being accountable to citizens as demanded by the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Uganda Communication Commission Act, 2013.


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


“According ultimate communication surveillance powers to private business companies is a great danger to the lives of Ugandans. We call upon UCC to immediately recall its illegal directives and instead ensure that guiding regulations are enacted before any installations are enforced,” says Dorothy Mukasa, Chief Executive Officer Unwanted Witness Uganda.


In January 2018, UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi confirmed that the regulator had created a centralized Equipment Identity Register system whose operation was awaiting Parliamentary approval of the Uganda Communications Centralized Identity Equipment Regulations, 2015.

Unfortunately, before regulations are tabled in Parliament the regulator has directed all telecom operators to immediately install on their networks a Central Equipment Identification register.


These illegal directives reflect the unwillingness on the part of the regulator to holistically safeguard communication of the Ugandan citizens which aught to be challenged.


Unwanted Witness thus recommends as follows;


(i)                 UCC withdraws all illegal directives and desists from sharing citizens’ data with private telecom companies without a data protection law.


(ii)               UCC be held liable for any data breach resulting from the illegal actions