It’s now 18 yers as Uganda enjoys active use of internet and the coming of the new media platform, but this growing sector is under threat from the state which is moving fast to narrow down the cyber space under the guise of curbing cyber crime.
According to a recent internet report unwanted witness, noted that government surveillance journey began way back in 2007 when state house hired computer wizards from Israel to come and coach Uganda security organs on how to hack into individual email accounts.
This was preceded with the establishment the establishment of the internet monitoring unit in major security organs in the country and then a media monitoring unit in 2010 the report reveals.
Unwanted witness reveals that police has formerly established a cyber crime unit charged with the responsibility of mitigating cyber crime in the country.
“the establishment of this unit is intended to scare off online expression given the shifting trends from the use of traditional media to online” noted Jeff Wokulira Ssebagala, the chief executive officer unwanted witness
He further noted that recent figure indicates an increase of Ugandans utilizing online platform as a secure platform to conduct constructive debates
Government seems to be threatened by the fact that the majority of Ugandans are now expressing their diverted views online, where it has control off to stifle them like it has been doing under the traditional media platforms.
Through the research unwanted witness found that police seeks to legitimize the illegal surveillance it has for years been undertaking through profiling citizens social media accounts like Facebook, twitter, and blogs among others. This will enable the police to commence investigations and prefer charges among which is terrorism and involving in subversive acts that threaten the state.
Patrick Onyago, the deputy police spokesperson declined to give more details but said the unit is only mandated to investigate cyber crime and advised the forces top management
Political spectator say the establishment of the cyber crime unit will curtail online expression platforms and infringe on the citizens right to privacy online in the albescence of a privacy and data protection law. Which the government failed to enact for the last 19 years after the coming in force of the 1995 constitution.