The Minister of State for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and National Guidance Peter Ogwang has warned the public against ‘illegal’ access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp with the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
Two days to the January 14, polls, Uganda’s communications regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) ordered all internet service providers in the country to block all social media platforms until further notice.
A day to the polls, UCC ordered the service providers to switch off access to the internet and although the internet was restored after five days, access to social media is still blocked.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a meeting with the ICT Committee of Parliament where they met to consider the National Budget Framework Paper for 2021 – 2026, Ogwang said that social media blockade was in the interest of national security.
“You must also commend us, imagine if social media and internet was there, what would have happened today? We must be realistic some people don’t want to accept that they lost the election. So done blame us, we did this in the interest of Uganda,” Ogwang said.
Ogwang disclosed that government has now directed the UCC to start tracking all social media users who have resorted to using VPNs to access social media platforms.
” All of us as of today, are still meant to be off social media. Those illegal users of VPNS, I want to warn you that we shall continue switching them off,” Ogwang said.
Ogwang, who yesterday used VPN to send out a tweet about the meeting, defended his decision claiming “he was on survey to know who the illegal users are.”
Ogwang said that the social media will be restored after analysing the situation case by case, adding that the behaviour of the users will determine if they are reconnected.