In a new report, Unwanted Witness Uganda and Civil rights defenders provide a joint analysis on cyber laws in Uganda and their failure to protect online freedoms and the right to privacy. The analysis is an assessment of Ugandan cyber laws from a human rights perspective that reflects on the compatibility of the provisions with Uganda’s own 1995 Constitution and International Human Rights Standards.
Freedom of expression is in certain forms criminalized under the laws which contravene international human rights law. Among other things, we witnessed an all curtailment of access to social media under the pretext of national security during the 2016 general elections. At the same time, the more legitimate criminalisation of certain forms of expression, for example terrorism and child pornography, is based on vague definitions and formulations which can result in disproportionate penalties.
The right to privacy is threatened under the laws as various provisions enable both targeted and mass surveillance of individuals’ communications, as well as search and seizure of private mobile electronic gadgets and computers. The level of evidence required for a warrant to be issued is as a rule extremely low and the judicial involvement in the process of issuing warrants is either unclearly defined or lacking totally. The laws lack more long-going guarantees for the protection of the right to privacy and protection of personal data.