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Govt launches five-year strategic plan on privacy, data protection

Three arms of government, Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive on Wednesday teamed up and launched a five-year strategic plan on privacy and data protection. Key stakeholders from all the arms of government took part in the unveiling.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa represented the House, while the Judiciary was represented by Justice of the Court of Appeal Geoffrey Kiryabwire. Information minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi represented the Executive.

Justice Kiryabwire, during the launch, noted that there is a need for a robust legal framework to handle data protection and this should meet international regional and domestic standards.

“The right to privacy is not absolute,” Kiryabwire cautioned the public, stating the fact that governments world over can occasionally spy on their citizens, purely for security purposes

This was during a conference organised by the Personal Data Protection Office (PDPO), an autonomous government entity, to mark the 2024 Data Privacy Day under the theme: Stop, Think, Own your Privacy. This was at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.

Tayebwa said the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has presented a serious challenge for data privacy and conversely ripened an opportunity for cyber-crime to manifest in new ways not previously experienced by mankind, this, he said, has rendered most of Uganda’s laws to be ineffective.

“How many are reading the terms and conditions set by telecoms?” Tayebwa asked. He said telecoms and financial institutions compel their customers seeking loans to sign a five-page of lengthy and very detailed terms and conditions, and many often fall victim to.

The trio also jointly launched the Braille version of the personal data protection law which will now be easily accessible and legible (readable) for the visually impaired members of Uganda’s blind fraternity.

It was endorsed by the Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB) which joined the Government delegates to append their signatures to the giant replica version of the Strategic Plan. It envisions “A Uganda where data protection and privacy is understood and practiced by all”.

The strategic plan will focus on privacy, protection as well as responsible access to data.

It was warmly welcomed by various members of the public and members of the legal fraternity plus the visually impaired who felt connected and involved in the Government’s plans.

“The world of artificial intelligence (AI) has come with a bang. We constantly worry about chroming our voices, as politicians a cyber-criminal using AI can impersonate a politician using a faked very convincingly similar voice to the victim to falsely allege that the target has pulled out of a political race, this is a real threat in this digital era,” Tayebwa cautioned.

He said for this paranoia he has stepped up his data security by paying extra to the Ireland-based Google firm to secure his emails.

Source: New Vision