Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Uganda Prepares Phone-Tapping Bill

Uganda’s Minister for Security Mr. John Amama Mbabazi on Monday presented a bill on regulation of interception of communications to the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communication Technology.

The bill gives powers to the Minister of Security to authorize interception of communication which may be suspected to be a threat to national security or perpetuating crime.

Mbabazi who is also a Member of Parliament told the committee that the interception is specific in nature only targeting communication that is suspected to be involving crime. Legislators were however sceptical that it would invade individual privacy

The minister illustrated with an example of what happened in the United States of America where terrorists sent powder infected with anthrax in envelopes through the post office to various recipients, adding that the US government had to intercept this communication to fight the threat of infecting the public.

He assured the legislators that private communication would not be affected by the proposed bill’s provisions and nor will it gag media freedom.

Some members however argued that the bill might seek to place too much powers in the hands of the Security Minister

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