The Minister of Security Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde has said that government has legal grounds to intercept data and voice calls under the Regulations and Interception of Communications Act (RICA)
Tumukunde was responding to complaints raised by a number of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the public over infringement on privacy as a result of simcard registration and verification.
Earlier in March, Unwanted witness, one of the CSOs operating in Kampala dragged the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to court over their directive on mandatory use of national IDs and /or passports for registration of new simcards.
They argued that it was a ploy by government targeting particular individuals in opposition rather than curb crime as is portrayed in the public eye.
“It will be hard to share classified information with a journalist via a phone because they will track it back and it will bear bad consequences, Opposition figures will be compromised since they will not have the liberty to communicate anonymously,” said Geoffrey Wokulira Sebagala, the team lead at Unwanted Witness.
Speaking to journalists on Monday morning, Tumukunde said; “this is a matter that we don’t intend to compromise on, be it in timing or quality. The public has been informed and there should be no excuses.”
“You can be sure that we have a command and control centre under the Ministry of Security where we are tracking all aspects of communication and we shall get to whoever is disrupting security. So you dodge it left, it will get you right,” he added.
The Minister was together with the UCC Executive Director and officials from National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) briefing journalists on the status of the ongoing simcard registration. The process ends on May 19th.
Asked on the capacity to curb cyber related crime, Tumukunde who seemed hesitant to comment said recruitments have been made for particular people to handle the issue.