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Gov’t urged to implement data protection law to reduce cybercrimes

Dorothy Mukasa, the Executive Director of Unwanted Witness

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Unwanted Witness, a nongovernment organization that advocates for secure and uncensored online communication has called upon the government to enforce the Data Protection law that was passed over two years ago in order to curb increasing cybercrimes. 

Speaking ahead of the launch of a report on Uganda’s data protection and privacy policies, Dorothy Mukasa, the Executive Director of Unwanted Witness said that unless the government implements the law on data protection, the country will continue to see a rise in cybercrimes. 

“We believe that ensuring compliance with the data protection legislation will go a long way in curbing Cybercrimes emanating from data breach. This will in turn, save the loss of colossal sums of Money,” Mukasa said, adding that over the years, state and non-state actors have intensified collection and processing of citizens’ personal identifiable data, yet the government is slow to enforce compliance of the data protection law. 

This, she said, has resulted in an alarming increase in cybercrimes in the country. In the recently released police annual crime report, banks and telecom companies lost approximately 11 billion Shillings after criminals hacked into their data systems with the aid of information technology officers. 

Section 10 of the Data Protection Act 2019, prohibits any data collector, processor or controller from collecting, holding or processing personal data in a manner that infringes on the privacy of people. The Act further requires data collectors to establish data protection desks or offices for the protection of the data collected.

Although some companies are progressing towards meeting those expectations, there are still many companies that lag behind, fail to enact best practices and comply with their legal obligations, or don’t prioritize user privacy and dignity over control and profit,” Mukasa said.

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