Corporates Kenya

Uganda: New Cyber Law Spells Out Tough Penalties for Offenders

Parliament has passed the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 privately moved by Hon. Muhammad Nsereko (Ind., Kampala Central), which imposes tough penalties for cyber-crimes.

The Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 sought to amend the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 to enhance the provisions on unauthorised access to information or data; prohibit the sharing of any information relating to a child without authorisation from a parent or guardian; to prohibit the sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech.

With deletion of clauses that sought to bar convicts under the law from holding public office or running for elections in 10 years, the rest of the clauses unanimously sailed through uncontested, with MP Gorreth Namugga (NUP, Mawogola County South) dissenting.

A new clause in the bill, proposed by the ICT committee chairperson, Hon. Moses Magogo, defined social media and created penalties for computer users who take refuge in pseudo accounts.

The clause reads: “A person who uses social media to publish, distribute or share information, prohibited under the laws of Uganda or using disguised or false identity, commits an offence”.

A person who manages an account of an organisation where this happens will be held liable for the commission of the offence, the bill provides.

The clause proceeded to give a diverse definition of social media to mean, “a set of technologies, sites, and practices which are used to share opinions, experiences and perspectives, and includes YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, Sina Weibo, QQ, Telegram, Snapchat, Kuaishou, Qzone, Reddit, Quora, Skype, Microsoft Team and Linkedin”.

A person who commits the offence under the clause in issue shall, on conviction, suffer either a fine of Shs16 million, five years in jail or both fine and imprisonment.

Social media accounts that are verified will be presumed to be owned by the persons in whose names the accounts are run, unless the contrary is proved.

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