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MPs split on phone tapping BillPublish Date: Jun 25, 2010
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By Catherine Bekunda and Mary Karugaba

MPs on the information communication technology committee (ICT) have disagreed over the Interception of communication Bill.

Committee chairperson Nathan Nabeta (NRM) submitted a detailed report on Thursday, after an earlier one was rejected for being shallow.

The Bill seeks to make provisions for the lawful interception and monitoring of certain communications. It also seeks to empower the security minister to issue warrants to intercept communication in case of crimes against the State.

It also empowers security agencies to intercept terrorism-related postal letters and monetary payments.

The committee, in its report, recommends that the Bill be passed into law, subject to some changes. “Rampant human sacrifice that have frequently targeted innocent children are facilitated by efficient communication.

With this Bill, the Government will be able to keep up with the criminals,” Nabeta said.

However, opposition MPs Isha Otto (UPC) and Alex Oceng Penytoo (FDC) opposed the report, saying the restrictions in the Bill were a threat to human rights.

“This Bill touches the marrow of the rights and freedoms of human beings; we ought to handle it with care,” said Penytoo.

He added: “In its current form, the Bill is overly broad and vague on the grounds under which the right to privacy may be interfered with.”

“Interception of communication should only be permitted in times of emergency like war, terrorist attacks and calamities.”

Penytoo also noted that allowing the Government to intercept communication would infringe on the freedom of the media.

They suggested that Parliament amends the Anti-terrorism Act and includes some of the provisions in the Bill.

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