Friday May 10 2013

Abusive SMS could land you behind bars

By Stephen Otage

Before sending an abusive short text message (SMS) or e-mail, you may want to reconsider your move because it could earn you some jail time.

The warning from the National Information Technology Authority (Nita) notes that when the sim card registration exercise ends this month, acts of misuse of computers will be punishable because the Electronic Signatures and Transactions Act and the Computer Misuse and Abuse Act regard mobile phones as computers.

Therefore abusive SMS, stalking people and sending threatening e-mails are considered computer crimes.

In an interview with the Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr James Saaka, the executive director Nita, said contrary to public misconception that Uganda lacks cyber laws, several people were currently serving jail sentences for cyber crimes.

He cited the four Bulgarian nationals currently serving a 20-year-jail term in Luzira Prison for defrauding money from Stanbic Bank ATMs.

Another Turkish national is currently serving a two-year jail term after pleading guilty to computer misuse and possession of pornographic materials, while two former MTN employees were jailed for hacking into the company’s servers.

“Password management is very important. Do you know that you can now sign contracts using e-mails?” Mr Saaka said.