Parliament has granted Kampala Central Member of Parliament, Hon Muhammad Nsereko leave to introduce a law on cyber-harassment.
The bill seeks to bring to an end sending, posting, sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. The bill also seeks to resolve the concerns of accessing and intercepting another person’s data or information, voice or records another person without authorisation.
In a Plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Anita Among on Tuesday 15th February 2022, Nsereko said that the Bill is necessitated by increasing cyber-harassment and abuses that he said go unpunished.
“Without strengthening the existing legislation with stringent measures to address the gaps, the technological abuse with its grave impact on health, human relations and society at large, will continue to escalate the violation of the right to privacy,” he said.
The move by Nsereko to introduce the Bills follows concerns raised by Disaster Minister, Hilary Onek on 9th February 2022 over media reports claiming he had been taken ill abroad. There were concerns over falls reports over other government officials being flown abroad for medication.
The proposed bill by Nsereko also prescribes hefty fines, lengthy jail terms, a ban from holding public office and loss of office for convicted offenders.
Clause 2 of the Bill prescribes a fine of Shs15 million or up to 10 years in jail or both imprisonment and fine for individuals who “without authorisation, accesses, intercepts another person’s data or information, voice or records another person.”
Clause 3 of the Bill proposes seven years jail term, Shs15 million in fines or both, for any person who sends and shares data about children without the authorisation of their parents or guardians on a computer and by extension social media.
Clause 4 of the Bill proposes a seven-year jail term, a fine of Shs15 million or both imprisonment and a fine for sending unsolicited messages to computer users.
Clause 5 of the Bill proposes a Shs15 million fine or a seven-year jail term or both such imprisonment and fine for sharing of “misleading or malicious information about or relating to any person through a computer”.
Clause 6 of the Bill seeks to bar individuals who have been convicted of the offences relating to this Bill from holding public offices or losing it for those already in office.
“A person who is convicted under this Act shall not be eligible to hold a public office for a period of 10 years. Where a person convicted under this Act is a leader or public officer, he or she shall, in addition to the prescribed punishment, be dismissed from or vacate office,” reads clause 6 of the Bill.