Museveni signs Data Protection and Privacy Bill into law

President Museveni has assented to the Data Protection and Privacy Act, the Nile Post has learnt.

The bill was on December 4, 2018 tabled before parliament by the  Minister  for Information Communication Technology ,Frank Tumwebaze for the second reading and was adopted the following day before being sent to the president to be able to append his signature.

This website has however learnt that the president assented to it on February 25.

The National Information Technology Authority, Uganda(NITA-U) welcomed the news saying it will help secure citizens and protect their privacy.

“The law provides the much-needed protection for personal identifiable information which is key in this digital age.  It provides important safeguards that will protect Ugandan citizens as they use online services,” said NITA-U Executive Director, James Saaka explained.

“This law also provides many avenues to facilitate growth in the IT sector. A good example is the BPO industry where the law makes it possible for Ugandan players to comply with international standards, improving credibility and customer trust, which inevitably leads to more business.”

The new law will now help protect privacy of individuals and that of personal data by regulating the collection and processing of personal informal, contrary to what has been happening in the past without a law.

A 2018 report by the Unwanted Witness, a local based civil society organization indicated that telecom companies and Internet Service Providers in Uganda don’t have stringent policies and terms of service to guarantee individual’s right to privacy, personal data and freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.

“The lack of data protection and privacy that provides principles and guidelines for data curators on how to collect, process and share people’s personal data provides fertile ground for both the State and corporate agencies to undermine people’s right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy without limitation,” said the report titled “Your Communication and Personal Data is Not Safe Anymore: the Unwanted Witness” released in November 2018.

The 24-page report indicated that the Anti-Terrorism Act (2002), the Interception of Communication Act (2010) and The Uganda Communications Commission Amendment Act 2016, contain infringements on individual freedoms adding owing it to the absence of a data protection law.

By signing the Data Protection and Privacy bill into law, telecom companies will now be mandated to protect the privacy of personal data, collection and processing of personal information will now be regulated.

Data collectors and processors will now be mandated by the law to protect the data collected and use it for the specific objectives it is requested for.

According to NITA-U, the new law will go a long way in making more to secure Uganda’s cyber space.

When contacted for a comment, Unwanted Witness’ Chief Executive Officer, Dorothy Mukasa welcomed the move saying it was long overdue.

“This was long overdue given the fact that a lot of personal data has been collected without any regulation,”Mukasa said.

“We look forward to effective implementation and we request the Ministry of ICT to put in place regulations that will guide its implementation.

The Unwanted Witness boss said the new law will also go a long way in protection people’s privacy which she said is so crucial in the digital era adding that it will help third pary access to personal data unlike before.

 

 

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