A Police State is a core characteristic of a totalitarian form of governance. The regime exercises power arbitrarily through the power of the Police Force as opposed to a state regulated by civil administration.
Citizens of a police state experience restrictions on their rights and freedoms which is subject to Police monitoring or enforcement. A political Police unit then acts for the repressive regime to control the political, economic and social life of the people in place of regular operations of civil administrative and judicial organs of the government as set about by the constitution and other legal procedures.
Citizens of a Police State face grave restrictions on their mobility and freedom to express or communicate political or other views. Such a Police State is fundamentally authoritarian and often a dictatorship which suppress citizens' rights under the guise of state security and the leaders are seen as gods who exercise absolute powers. Political opposition to the regime is treated as a crime against the state.
As public dissent is forbiden, it inevitably becomes secret, which in turn invites the repressive Police State's surveillance program. The regime keeps watch on what its oppressed citizens say and communicate, and keeps track of their associates and movements.
Repressive state surveillance can be overt and covert or both but can be targeted or massive. It can be carried out by a civilian network like our village Local Councils (L.C) and Crime Preventers. It can be by the regime's agencies - the Police and secret services, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) or by commercial corporations like mobile phone companies. Both UCC and NIRA are an extension of Museveni's regime intelligence network.
Target surveillance is carried out on specific individual persons, places and objects and organisations. It can be carried out covertly (secretly) or overtly (publicly) using methods like interception of communication, collection of communication traffic data from phone companies, visual surveillance devices and devices that sense movements of objects and persons. Electronic tagging, targeted computers, internet, mobile phone, social media, residences, hotels, conference halls, cars, etc. The other day Dr. Besigye discovered a surveillance device that the regime had fixed in his car.
Mass surveillance also known as "passive" or "undirected" gathers information and images for possible future use. Use of CCTV and databases like it is the case in the ongoing scheme to fix CCTV cameras in all urban centres and the re-registration of SIM cards and the national ID is a classic example of mass surveillance. In civilised countries, it helps fight terrorism, crime, prevents social unrest, protects national security, fights child pornography, etc. though it limits civil and political rights while at the same time it limits privacy. Under Museveni's Uganda, it is designed to monitor and suppress political dissent.
Ill-motivated mass surveillance scheme leads to a situation of an Electronic Police State whereby the repressive regime uses electronic technologies to record, collect, store, organize, analyse, search,
and distribute information about its citizens. Uganda is heading for massive government surveillance of landline and cellular telephone traffic, mail, Emails, Web surfing, internet searches, radio and other forms of electronic communication as well as widespread use of video surveillance. The Museveni regime has upgraded its electronic surveillance technology - thus it is trying to match it with the citizens’ database through rigorous re-registration exercise of SIM cards and National ID.
The repressive regime will deliberately make its citizens know that it runs a mass surveillance program so that it instills fear and suspicion and the consequential self censorship while its powerful coercive Police Force takes center stage.
The Museveni regime already has in place the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the development of a Police State/Surveillance State/Electronic Police State. The Ministry of Information Communication techinologies (ICT), The Interception of Communications Act, The National Identification and Registration Agency (NIRA), The Public Order Management Act (POMA), The Uganda Communication
Commission (UCC), Registration of Persons Act, a rubber stamp parliament, client phone companies, cadre Judges, regime Police, regime secret services, regime militias and others are the pillars of the program.
Through covert hacking, the regime will be able to collect, remove and add digital evidence to/from private devices of citizens without knowledge of owners. With such data, the regime will be able to disrupt, misdirect, discredit, foster internal dispute in the opposition or smear dirt on their activities especially the leaders.
INFORMATION IS POWER