Activists express pessimism over government’s move to provide free Internet to Kampala and Entebbe dwellers

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Activists express pessimism over government’s move to provide free Internet to Kampala and Entebbe dwellers By Witness radio team Activists have expressed pessimism over the unprecedented move by Uganda government to provide free Internet to citizens of Kampala and Entebbe. In a September 19 press statement, Unwanted Witness-Uganda is suspicious that this could be a “move to target government critics.” “Uganda has over 7 million Internet users daily with majority of users dwelling in Kampala and Entebbe. This project is total wastage of public resources and will not address the country’s digital divide problem between urban and rural poor,” said Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the chief Executive Officer Unwanted Witness. The statement thus contends that the Unwanted Witness is “very suspicious of government’s hidden agenda in providing free internet to a well off population in terms of wealth and internet connectivity compared to other places [rural] facing several challenges including poverty hindering their access to internet in the country.” Unwanted Witness Uganda’s pessimism statement follows a proclamation by government through its National Information Technology Authority (NITA) early this month that dwellers of Kampala and Entebbe would be offered free Wi-Fi effective October 1 2016. Cognizant of a Fungua Macho report by Privacy International in 2015 which revealed that government had procured a deadly finfisher spyware in 2013, Ssebaggala, however, implored Ugandans to be “careful while connecting to the public Wi-fi.
Page 2 of 2He said that it could be a trap to intercept Ugandans’ communications and collecting data of “recipients” which could be used against them. Offers safety tips On realizing that internet subscribers were almost deprived of their rights to civic space both online and offline, Ssebaggala offered key tips on how they can ensure their safety while on and off internet. The tips range from turning off sharing while on public network, to enabling the firewall, to using HPTTS and SSL whenever possible. Others are; turning off wi-fi when a subscriber isn’t using it, and considering using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)