Speaker wants data privacy law tabled to address Artificial Intelligence

Deputy Speaker, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, signs the Strategic Plan of the Personal Data Protection Office at a conference. in Kampala today (Wednesday), January 31, 2024.

In a bid to counter potential threats posed by technological advancements, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, has advised that there is urgent need to update national legislation on data protection and privacy.

During the 2024 Data Privacy Day Conference in Kampala today (Wednesday), January 31, 2024, the speaker emphasised the need to modify the Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019 to provide for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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“These are laws which we made when the era of Artificial Intelligence had not reached the level it is at today. The capacity of AI to harvest, process and exploit data is so huge that it has rendered our laws ineffective,” Mr Tayebwa said.

He urged the Personal Data Protection Office to analyse the existing law and make recommendations to the Minister for ICT and National Guidance on amendments to bring it in line with technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

“What is very clear is that in terms of legislation, we shall not be able to keep up with the speed of the internet and AI, but we should try. And maybe, the minister can be given more powers under regulation, so that he handles some of these matters without coming to Parliament,” Mr Tayebwa added.

The Deputy Speaker also emphasised the need to invest efforts in data protection to guard Ugandans against digital threats of misinformation and commercial espionage, among others.

Dr Baryomunsi said the ministry has implemented efforts to address duplication of biodata by providing funds to National Information Registration Authority (NIRA) to carry out mass registration of Ugandans.

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“NIRA is now procuring kits and the necessary devices and if their roadmap continues as scheduled, they should be able to get into that exercise mid this year [2024],” he said.
Audio: Baryomunsi on mass registration of Ugandans (English)

The minister appealed to Ugandans to support the exercise.

“…the data you provide will shall be protected and used for the benefit of the country.”

Dr Baryomunsi also noted that a national census will be conducted with the census night commencing on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

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