Several Ugandans, including political opposition members, civil society organizations, and human rights activists could be the target of the new spyware purchased by the Uganda Police from Israel earlier this month.
The Israeli cyber company Cellebrite confirmed selling spyware technology to Uganda Police. The technology will help Police gain access to people’s gadgets such as phones and laptops, and download or retrieve deleted information.
The purchase of spyware has raised concerns about the abuse of human rights, especially the right to privacy. More to that, the technology UFED claims to have invented to fight serious crimes and terrorism, could be used to track and hack into government opponents and other people of interest.
In James Onen's opinion, similar government undertakings have been attached to achieving a greater good yet end up being used otherwise. He made the assumption based on the fact that the technology has been sold to repressive regimes such as Russia, Venezuela, Indonesia, and Bangladesh among others.
“Ours is a military regime, and our President likes discussing security matters, many infringing on people’s civil liberties and claiming to be under the auspices of security. Because of security, Bobiwine must be arrested, Besigye can not leave his house, and the internet is shut down. As long as the buzzword ‘security’ is thrown around, everything is justified,” Fatboy said.
He said that a society that enforces the rule of law and respects civil liberties does not use security as a pretext for hacking into people’s gadgets.
The show co-host Olive Najjuma explained that even though the move is to be challenged, whatever Ugandans have to say could be redundant since they were not consulted or had it debated in Parliament by their representatives.
In addition, Pius a contributor to the show, commented that although the technology is to curb crime as argued by the Israeli government, the primary target and purpose are opposition politicians.
“It is going to help in reducing cybercrime by tracking criminals. However, politicians will have to be awake, especially the opposition because the government is trying to see how to choke them in all ways possible now that it will hack into their phones and laptops,” he said.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.