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Right to privacy threatened ahead of 2016 – Activists

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Right to privacy threatened ahead of 2016 – Activists

Human Rights Activists have warned of growing incidents of violations of people’s privacy which they link to the forthcoming general elections slated for 2016.

The warning came from the Chief Executive Officer of Unwanted Witness Uganda, Ssebaggala warned that in the recent past, there has been an increase in incidents of communication surveillance in the country.

Ssebaggala noted that the surveillance is meant to collect personal information from both private and public agencies.

According to Ssebaggala, the botched registration of SIM cards, was one of the plans hatched by the government to collect information from private individuals but one that tantamounted to an infringement on their rights.

The Misuse of personal data is not limited to government agents but also other ill-motivated individuals that case easily access this vital information either by bribing those in charge which can be very dangerous to the safety of the people.  

Ssebaggala cited the use people’s Short Message Services (SMS) platform that was used by President Museveni to campaign during the last general elections of 2011.

Makerere University Human Rights and law don, Dr. Kakungulu Mayambala argued that the current legal framework including the Computer Misuse Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Regulation of Interception of Communication Act, Anti-pornography Act, among other laws, make it easy for the duty bearers to contravene article 27 of the constitution that provides for the right to privacy.

Presenting a paper on strengthening Communication Surveillance and the right to privacy in Uganda, Mayambala urged members of the civil society, IT practitioners and lawyers to take it upon themselves to legally challenge the unfriendly legislations.

“There is need for public litigation to challenge these laws that are contravening the Constitution Article 27 that provides for the right to privacy,” said Mayambala.

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