New data protection portal seeks to solve cybercrime

The portal targets more than 5,000 organisations that hold sensitive personal data. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Government has launched a new data protection portal through which it will seek to fight cybercrime.  

The privacy portal developed by the UN Capital Development Fund will ease reporting, processing and resolving data protection and privacy complaints and breaches.

It will also ease registration of persons and organisations that collect and process personal data.   

Speaking at the launch in Kampala, Dr Amina Zawedde, the ICT Ministry permanent secretary, said while many transactions are happening online, there has been an increased exposure to cyber risks, which the portal seeks to mitigate. 

Banks and telecoms have recently registered an increase in phishing attacks through which sensitive personal data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details are obtained by fraudsters. 

Data from the annual police crime report indicate that in 2021, there was an increase in economic crimes such as financial fraud, which resulted into more than 10,000 economic crimes. 

Ms Stella Alibateese, the Data Protection Office director, said the portal will also deal with a challenge of unsolicited messages received without verifiable permission.  

The portal targets more than 5,000 organisations that hold sensitive personal data.  

Uganda is the first country in the region to automate the process with about 338 organisations being registered and classified as data controllers, data processors and data collectors.

Ms Alibateese said already a number of organisations such as telecoms and 85 percent of banks in the financial sector, have been registered. 

Others include insurance providers, health care management facilities, hotel and accommodation facilities, institutions of learning, and a number of government bodies.

Dr Hatwib Mugasa, the National Information Technology Authority executive director, said data breach can happen at any stage, noting that a social security officer processing an application can breach someone’s data in real time by accessing information stored in other government systems.

Therefore, he said, guided by the NITA-U National IT Survey 2017/18 report,  the portal echoes provisions of the law that emphasise privacy and data breach as serious crimes. 

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