The best to privateness, what’s going to change with the set up of GPS monitoring gadgets in Uganda?
After an assassination attempt on General Katumba Wamala and the pathetic murder of his daughter, the president decreed that all cars and Boda Bodas must be equipped with GPS tracking devices. Most Ugandans are wondering what comes next as the government is considering making the installation of these devices mandatory for every car on the roads as it would violate their fundamental right guaranteed by the 1995 Constitution.
According to Article 27 of the Ugandan Constitution of 1995, no person may be subjected to an unlawful search of that person, home or other property, or unlawful entry into the premises of that person. No person may be exposed to interference with the privacy of the home, correspondence, communications or other property of that person.
“Like indirect taxes, it’s not frightening, it’s straight away; Imagine driving from your psychiatrist to your church and later meeting friends in a hotel in town, and the whole time the police were literally trotting after you, it must be numbing “~ a certain member of the Ugandan public notes.
Earlier this month, the Ugandan government hired a Russian company, believed to have been declared bankrupt, to install GPS tracking devices in all public and private vehicles, motorcycles and motorcycles in the east African country.
GPS tracking devices are inherently perverse and overtly intrusive. For example, if all cars have GPS tracking devices and, for example, meet for midday prayer, an officer somewhere without restrictions can collect and use the information from our GPS with unprecedented accuracy to determine whether everyone is connected.
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GPS tracking technology is a cheap and multi-layered technology with a different actor at each level. Each tracking device (receiver) has a mobile radio transmitter supported by a SIM card that connects the tracking device to a GPS satellite. This data is accessed by a police officer in real time via tablets, phones and other devices, and it can also be freely copied and distributed on a computer hard drive and / or in physical and cloud-based government data centers for unlimited future use.
Undoubtedly, this raises privacy issues for two reasons; For one thing, the government, as a data collector and controller, cannot guarantee control over Internet service providers and device manufacturers who access the same data and then pass it on to fake third parties.
Second, the data collected is disproportionate and unnecessary against the principle of “data minimality”; The GPS tracking technology itself has been declared ubiquitous and intrusive by the courts. Consequently, without strong administrative and technical safeguards, GPS tracking technology poses a threat to data protection.
Finally, the specific statute; the Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019, does not adequately protect against unnecessary government interference. The law gives public authorities, including the police, full discretion in the collection and processing of personal data, which may include that perverse and intrusive personal data related to private travel and movement.
The data protection act can be downloaded for free here https://ict.go.ug/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Data-Protection-and-Privacy-Act-2019.pdf
While government has a legitimate interest in protecting citizens and their property, it can do this in a less drastic way. Otherwise, it’s like literally burning down an entire house to roast a chicken.
Writer Muhindo Morgan is a digital rights attorney.