The Uganda Police Force has said its relationship with Huawei is strictly business and that Ugandans should not be concerned whilst using the company’s products.
The force’s disclosure follows a malicious article that was published by USA’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newpaper, claiming that they [police] used Huawei’s technology to spy on opposition figures.
“We would like the public to know that the UPF has an existing contract with Huawei to install CCTV cameras country wide as a measure to strengthen law and order. Their contract including both the hardware and software were thoroughly evaluated, and there were no short comings in the engineering and policing processes. The first phase of the installation of CCTV cameras within the KMP areas is in advanced stages with 85% completion,” said Uganda Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga in a statement dated August 19, 2019.
“We want to assure all Ugandans that there are no concerns in using Huawei technology. Our relationship is purely business and does not prohibit us from purchasing or using their telecommunications and surveillance products in addressing crime and safety in our country. The cameras are already transforming modern day policing in Uganda, with facial recognition and artificial intelligence as part of policing and security. They are also helping us to be more accountable through increased visibility and better response mechanisms.”
Enanga further stated that they continue to take their policing responsibilities very serious whereby they utilize a range of operational, investigative and intelligence tools in their everyday activities but not for spying purposes as alleged.
“Take note also that where it requires information about users, we use existing laws and procedure to seek such information from service providers,” he said.
“We strongly believe the Article by the WSJ that was carried forward by the Daily Monitor is being used to sabotage and smear the Uganda Police Force, and give political mileage to a particular member of the opposition and other interests. We wonder why they would single out one leader, yet there are many other players in the political arena of Uganda including other politicians, activists, Members of Parliament, Journalists, to mention a few.”
Enanga also asked WSJ and Daily Monitor to release information that the anti-crime infrastructure they are installing has been secretly used to extract personal information from private cell phones.
“We have seen the same accusations fronted against many other countries and institutions, using the Huawei intelligent monitoring systems. We believe its pure sabotage and a trade war strategy against Huawei and its clients.
“The Article will not put any pressure on the UPF, and we will continue to observe our Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei, and not help promote propaganda wars in the fight for the export of automated technology for policing.”