Internet Governance: Why should I care?

I have just come out of the Uganda Internet Governance Forum meeting and I’m beginning to think that it’s just talking and more talking about Internet Governance (IG) issues in Uganda.

The meeting which is supposed to feed into the East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) has just made me realise that our government just doesn’t care about IG issues or if it does then it is not doing enough. A presentation from the Ministry of ICT just confirmed my fears about their ignorance or complacency about IG issues. The presenter was just limited to the role of governments in IG yet what we wanted to hear what the Ugandan government has done as far as Internet governance is concerned. To make it even worse, he could hardly even talk about the three main bills (e-signatures, cyber crime and e-transactions). He simply put it that they were being tabled in parliament for “approval” and knowing the way in which our parliament operates, this may take forever to be finalised!

Less than 5% of Ugandans have access to the Internet that is according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). Latest data shows that there are 175,568 active mobile internet users, who access internet through data-enabled devices or at fixed wireless hotspots. This increasing accessibility via mobile phone is helping to shift the internet landscape from traditional fixed access to mobile wireless access.

Looking at these figures, I’m not exactly hearing what the government is/has done to make IG a success in Uganda. Right now, I’m seated in an Internet cafe and I’m wondering how safe it is for me to work from here! That is in terms of protection of my information. All I know is that the Cyber crime bill is is waiting Parliament’s approval.  So between now and then,  I do not know what happens in case someone hacked into say my email account (just in case I forgot to logout) and used my private data for their own use.

Not my kind of imagination, so I will leave it to that! I hope this bill comes out pretty fast because we need it to combat internet crime and fraud that seems to be on the increase Uganda.


    5 Responses

    1. Thanks for the article Lilian!

      That is pretty serious; i hope those people do really show some seriousness soon. Otherwise, such things as growth of ‘e’ and ‘m’ commerce (particularly given that we soon will have functional mobile money transfer systems in the region) are going to be affected big time, and the expected surge in use in the next few years could be fertile ground for all sorts of scam and fraudsters. I agree, we probably be seeing more of the mobile web, especially in the next 2 years with expected falls in bandwidth costs, and uptake of wimax and 3G.

      In the meantime, you can take some precautionary measures to stay safer online; for example you can do your browsing without leaving any leaving traces at any of the cafes, using more secure mail clients like gmail, encrypting and password protecting your data, looking out for phishing sites, and using more secure browsers like mozilla firefox . Ofcourse, these are only afew measures; the bad guys get smarter all the time.

      Keep it up!

    2. Great article and thank you for some of the facts and figures. Sounds like there are some important hurdles that need to be overcome in truly pushing for a viable digital society.

    3. […] comment from BSK argues. That is pretty serious; i hope those people do really show some seriousness soon. Otherwise, such […]

    4. […] post is admittedly a little old (from November 2008) but the issues remain relevant. It comes from Lilian, who writes From Uganda To You: A presentation from the Ministry of ICT just confirmed my fears […]

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