The Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT) is preparing a Bill to develop laws that criminalise abuse of information obtained from private conversations, especially from mobile phone users.
According to Mr John Nasasira, the ICT minister, the Bill on Private Communication Security is meant to safeguard the public against people who illegally access private information and communication to use it against them in violation of Article 29 of the Constitution which guarantees freedoms of conscience, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.
Speaking at the rebranding of Airtel yesterday morning, Mr Nasasira said the proposed law will ensure private information which is availed to public institutions like telephone companies and banks is safeguarded from intrusion and abuse.
“The information you provide when registering sim cards and mobile money is private information which should be protected. Everyone has a right to privacy and this is guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution,” he said, adding that the law would also ensure that private information is protected.
Mr Nasasira was responding to questions regarding the safety of Ugandan telephone networks from external telephone tapping following reports that the US government has been eavesdropping on telephone conversations of ‘friendly world leaders.’
Mr Nasasira said Uganda has not yet experienced such situations but emphasised the need to protect the private information and conversations of Ugandans. “We have not yet encountered such cases but tomorrow, I am taking the Private Communication Security Bill to Parliament,” Mr Nasasira said.
According to Mr V.G Somasekhar, the Airtel Uganda managing director, the Airtel rebranding, which comes with a new slogan “together we can,” marks the complete merger of Airtel and Warid telecoms where close to $250 million has so far been invested.
“We are getting closer to our vision. We have so far invested close to $258 million and we are injecting another $50 million so as to transform Uganda’ ICT sector,” he said yesterday, adding that as the biggest Indian foreign direct investor, Airtel is working towards improving Uganda’s mobile telephony, mobile internet and mobile commerce.