20 May 2018

South Africa: Your Cellphone Records and the Law - the Legal Loophole That Lets State Spying Run Rampant


There are laws in place preventing intelligence services from intercepting communications unless a specially designated judge scrutinises each case. But, on estimate, 95% of court orders related to telecoms interception are never even seen by this judge, thanks to a "legal loophole" that may prove extremely hard to close.

Telecoms surveillance in South Africa is governed by Rica - the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act. The law clearly distinguishes between two categories of information that can be intercepted. The first is communications content - whatever is said in a phone conversation, and written in texts, emails or private social media messages.

Intelligence services can only get hold of communications content if they apply for court order to a specially designated judge assigned in terms of Rica. The judge not only personally reviews each application, but must also issue an annual report of his or her activities to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, or JSCI. The committee is responsible for the parliamentary oversight of intelligence services in South Africa. Should a citizen suspect that the state illegally intercepted their communications, they may approach the Inspector General of Intelligence...

South Africa

Sublime Soul Diva Who Demanded Respect, Which Will be Forever Given

It is no coincidence that two of Aretha Franklin’s celebrated contemporaries who travelled to Detroit to see the… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.