Thursday 18 February 2016

SumRando Speaks: 5 Questions with i freedom Uganda’s Kelly Daniel

Today is the Ugandan presidential election. For those who have witnessed the event in the past, it’s hard not to expect a victory for Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni, who has held the office since 1986, gained international attention in 2014 for signing the repressive Anti-Homosexuality Act, a measure that not only threatened life imprisonment for the “offense of homosexuality,” but also criminalized the use of “internet, films, and mobile phones for the purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality.” The Act has since been nullified on a technicality, but a Museveni win today would only strengthen the argument for its reintroduction.

With or without the Act, Uganda is a place largely unfriendly to the LGBTI community, a fact that i freedom Uganda Network is actively working to counteract. The Network is made up of 28 LGBTI, Sex worker and human rights organisations, all collectively working for the freedoms of speech, expression, association and assembly. In our most recent interview, i freedom Uganda Executive Director Kelly Daniel shares more about the Network’s successes and his personal approach to security.

1. Describe the work you do with i freedom Uganda and why you do it.

i freedom Uganda Network, SumRando Speaks, Kelly Daniel, Uganda, SumRando Cybersecurity, VPN, Secure MessengerI am the Executive Director for the i freedom Uganda Network and the Secretary for Gender and Disability for the Internet Society Uganda Chapter.  
i freedom Uganda Network is an organization that promotes and supports freedom of speech, expression, association, and assembly through technical IT support and research and development of tools and applications that enhance digital security and safety.

i freedom is guided by the principles of the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA), and although its intervention primarily targets its membership, it also addresses the needs of other Human Rights Organizations (HROs) that may require its services.

We are an organization that strongly believes in freedom of expression, free speech, freedom of association and of assembly and as such we use the available technologies to safeguard citizens when they are exercising these rights. In this, we provide free digital security training to marginalized LGBTI and Sex Worker persons in Uganda and offer free web designing and hosting in a bid to improve on existing platforms of sharing information by Civil Society Organizations in Uganda. We also run a crowd sourcing map where we monitor violations of freedom of expression, association and assembly among other activities.

2. What is i freedom Uganda’s greatest success to date?

Since the year 2013 we are proud to have reached more than 500 marginalized gender and sexual minorities in Uganda with our digital security training and a further 400 Sex Workers with our Computer Literacy training. We have managed to design and host over 10 organizational websites since last year. We have also continued to represent gender and sexual minorities in Uganda in Internet freedom initiatives across the globe, from the Uganda Internet Governance Forum and the Forum on Internet Freedoms in East Africa to the Global Internet Governance Forum. Our voice on behalf of the gender and sexual minorities of Uganda continues to echo far and near.

3. From your perspective, are the issues faced in Uganda regarding digital privacy and net neutrality unique or are they similar to those faced elsewhere?

I think the issues faced are in no way unique from what happens elsewhere in the world. What is unique is the way we as Ugandans and indeed Africans interpret these issues and understand them.

4. What individual, organization or law would you like to recognize for its work in support of or against digital privacy rights and net neutrality?

I would like to recognize the wonderful contribution of activist organisation Tactical Tech Collective in support of digital privacy rights. Their digital security manuals have continued to be a great resource for many of us in Uganda and Africa at large. They indeed take a very positive stance when it comes to defending net neutrality too.

5. What measures do you take to protect your digital privacy and security?

What should I say? It is just simple, strong passwords and using applications and tools that support strong end-to-end encryption.

Want more SumRando Speaks? Read on!
SumRando Cybersecurity is a South Africa-based VPN, Web Proxy and Secure Messenger provider. Surf secure and stay Rando!

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