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Gov’t Starts Drafting Regulations to Operationalize Data Protection Law

Paul Okirig, a lawyer and drafter, said at the online consultative meeting that the regulations will among other things make it clear where the individual may refuse to give their data to a collector and incidences where they cannot refuse such as when the government wants information for planning purposes.
Government seeks to protect Ugandans information given different countries

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The Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance has started drafting regulations that will be used in the operationalization of the Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019.

The Act, which was assented into law by President Yoweri Museveni in February 2019, seeks to protect the privacy of the individual and the personal data by regulating collection and procession of this data.

Paul Okirig, a lawyer and drafter, said at the online consultative meeting that the regulations will among other things make it clear where the individual may refuse to give their data to a collector and incidences where they cannot refuse such as when the government wants information for planning purposes.

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Cue out: … can’t object.”//

The Act creates an office of the data protection officer to be stationed at the National Information technology Authority (NITA) to act as an overseer of data protection. 

The holder of the office would approve applications for those that seek to collect data but also act as an arbitrator in case there is a disagreement between the subject of data and the collector.

Kenneth Muhangi, the chair of ICT Cluster at the Uganda Law Society said the regulations must ensure the data protection officer is independent. He said this is because he/she will not only be looking at individuals but also public entities and big companies collecting information.

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Cue out: …government entities.//

Different companies are currently engaged in collecting information from people for different purposes. Ride-hailing companies collect information from people that download their applications but it’s not certain whether they keep at collecting or they give it to third parties.

Several companies have approached those engaged in agriculture for information on themselves and their activities. Banks and telecom companies also collect information from Ugandans. 

Through the new law, all these will have to seek permission before they collect information. For those that use it for commercial purposes, they will have to pay a few to the government before they are allowed to collect information.

The Act mentions medical information as one special data that may not just be given out. Okirig said the regulations will go-ahead to classify other kinds of data, including the criminal record of an individual among others.

He also said to get data outside Uganda, companies will be required to ensure that the countries where the data is taken have similar laws on data protection like Uganda. It is not clear when the regulations will be completed for the law to start working. 

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