KAMPALA– Major telecom companies in Uganda have been accused of leaking or exposing their clients’ data to government and other third parties contrary to their terms of service which has affected their privacy and freedom of expression.
This was revealed by a report released Thursday by Unwanted Witnesses, an organization that aims at promoting good use of the internet that promotes good governance and protection of human rights in the country under the title “Your communication and personal data is not safe anymore”.
Speaking at the launch of the report at Makerere University, Ms Dorothy Mukasa the organization’s executive director said the research focused on four leading companies including MTN, Airtel, UTL and Africel but found that none of them is protecting the privacy of their customers.
She said some companies like MTN confessed not being liable for the privacy of the people using their services and that they can share information with government agencies upon request without the consent of the client which is against the law.
“We found that our data is not safe anymore because telecom companies keep collecting data from individuals without involvement of the citizens yet the country lacks data protection laws,” Ms Mukasa added.
She added that the existing legal framework is contradictory, retrogressive and does not provide a succinct framework to internet service providers on privacy and freedom expression the reason some providers even sell their clients’ data.
However, in his speech member of parliament on the ICT committee, Mr John Bosco Lubyayi explained that his committee already has a bill on privacy and data protection that will soon be tabled before parliament for debate which will solve all the prevailing challenges.
“The new law will ensure that no one gets access to your data without your consent unless it is for national security,” he clarified.