As part of easing the lock down, the President announced several updates which included opening of arcades that meet the standards set, salons and allowing boda-bodas to carry passengers. The boda-bodas and arcades must keep records of every person as part of the new requirements. They must write down their name, National ID number, Residence and telephone number in a bid to help in contact tracing just in case one of them happens to contract COVID-19.
Be that as it may, there are issues concerning privacy of a person and that of their Data. The President recently assented to the Data Protection and Privacy Bill into law operationalizing Article 27 of the Constitution. The law aims at protecting the the privacy of the individual and of personal data by regulating the collection and processing of personal information; provides for the rights of the persons whose data is collected and the obligations of data collectors, data processors and data controllers; regulates the use or disclosure of personal information among others. The law therefore covers several issues especially on protection of privacy and personal data.
The arcades and boda-bodas (with no prior training and orientation) have been directed to collect this personal data from individuals before they access the services. What are the safety nets in place to ensure that this personal data is not abused, shared without the consent of the person giving it? Do the data collectors have an orientation on how to collect, store and share this data without infringing on the right to privacy and personal data of the individuals? To whom are they going to submit this data to? How shall we ensure that the details of the individuals are safe and not actually used against them? How do we guard against possible kidnaps and extortion of money, fraudsters, stalkers among others? Disclosing one’s residence to a Stranger is also dangerous and an infringement to privacy of a person.
I hope that all this was thought through well otherwise we may have an enigma arising from this practice where we shall have many Ugandans exposed to the unsuspecting and unscrupulous persons thereby endearing many people. We therefore need to go slow on this issue as we weigh its implication against the right to privacy and personal data otherwise this open exposure of personal data in the hands of stranger collectors is breeding ground for crime.
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