By Moses Mulondo
Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko presented to Parliament his private member’s Bill titled Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill 2022 on Tuesday, July 19.
Nsereko proposes to amend section 12 of the Act to state, “A person who, without authorisation, accesses or intercepts another person’s data or information or voice or video records another person, shares any information about or that relates to another person, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seven hundred fifty currency point or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both.”
In the preamble of the Bill, Nsereko expressed that despite the benefits of the computer-generated technology, the technology has been grossly abused, leading to the deprivation of the right to privacy through willful sending and sharing of negative, false, malicious, hateful, unwarranted pictures, insulting or even threatening information.
Justifying his Bill , Nsereko said, “Despite the existence of laws regulating the misuse of computers, the interception of communication and protection of data, the laws do not specifically address regulation of information sharing on social media platforms, information relating to underage persons and the penalties prescribed under the law are not adequate to deter the vice.”
The Bill makes it a crime to share any information about a person on digital platforms before getting authorisation from him or her.
The Bill states that any one found guilty of the above offence would, upon conviction, be made to pay a fine of sh15m or be imprisoned for 10 years.
In what will most likely turn out to be one of the most controversial clauses, the Bill states that convicted of any of the offences in the Act would be banned from participating in elective politics for a period of 10 years.
Many press freedom defenders are opposed to Nsereko’s Bill, arguing that it will curtail freedom of expression and sharing of information on social medial platforms.