President Museveni of Uganda Signs Computer Misuse Bill to Law

President Museveni of Uganda Signs Computer Misuse Bill to Law

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, has signed the Computer Misuse Bill into law, this is even as there have been continuous criticism raised against it due the extreme penalities attached to various uses of digital gadgets and computers.

Enacted in 2011, the Computer Misuse Act in Uganda is meant to improve safety and enhance the security of the progressively digitized society. It also prevents the illegal access, misuse, or abuse of data, which includes security the transmission of electronic and computers

An amendment of the Act was recently proposed by one member of the Ugandan parliament, which stated that the previously exisiting law did not address the regulation of information dissemination on social media platforms were not adequate. Therefore the Ugandan parliament in September 2022, passed the Computer Misuse Bill as Amended.

“A person who uses social media to publish, distribute or share information, prohibited under the laws of Uganda or using a disguised or false identity, commits an offence.” This is according  to clause 5 of the amended law which has now been signed into law.

The bill had defined social media  as, “a set of technologies, sites, and practices which are used to share opinions, experiences and perspectives, and includes YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, Sina Weibo, QQ, Telegram, Snapchat, Kuaishou, Qzone, Reddit, Quora, Skype, Microsoft Team and Linkedin”.

In as much as this law has relevance, professionals have debated that it will further hinder the freedom of speech and other digital rights of Ugandans.

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) in a statement said, “Uganda is not new to regressive control of digital technologies. In 2018, the east African country introduced a tax through the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act that required users to pay a daily tax in order to access social media services. Uganda also routinely blocks access to the internet and social media. Since January 2021, Facebook has been blocked in Uganda on orders of the government.”