Cape Town – Surveillance technology developed and sold by a UK firm to the government of Yoweri Museveni for “counter-terrorism purposes” has been used to crush civil society and derail opposition leaders in the run-up to general elections in Uganda. CAGE Africa calls for full accountability.
An internal memo leaked to Privacy International and revealed by the BBC, describes how the technology, developed by Gamma Group International and sold to the Ugandan government under the guise of counter-terrorism, has been used to “to spy on the enemy, collect data, intrude enemy systems, intercept enemy communication and also manipulate transmissions”.
According to Privacy International, police and military deployed the spyware specifically to “crush…civil disobedience” and “cra[ck] down [on] the rising influence of the opposition” by “blackmailing them”.
The technology has also been sold to Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Kenya.
Karen Jayes, co-ordinator of CAGE Africa, said:
“This is a clear example of how private companies are capitalising on the War on Terror, and how corrupt governments are manipulating it to achieve their own ends, facilitating the expansion of a global security surveillance empire at the expense of civil society.”
“Selling and deploying products for counter-terrorism purposes, thanks to a broad, one-size-fits-all application of the term ‘terrorism’, will continue to result in the repression of civil society until companies and governments comply with international law. CAGE Africa calls for full transparency and accountability.”
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