The South African Police could be spying on you, and you would have no idea. Social movement organisation Right 2 Know (R2K) have revealed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) are accessing thousands of people’s sensitive communications information every year.
While the RICA law requires police to get the permission of a special judge, to intercept a person’s communications, SAPS is using a loophole in the current surveillance laws (section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act) to bypass the process.
Through the act, the police have been able to access personal information including the identity of who you have communicated with, when, and your location.
To make matters worse, when a person’s communications information is handed over using the Criminal Procedures Act, they are never notified, even if the investigation is dropped or if they are found to be innocent.
According to R2K, law enforcement has received call records for a minimum of 70,960 cell phone numbers every year.
“In 2016, MTN received 23,762 warrants for customers’ call records, while Vodacom got 18,594 warrants. Cell C got 6455 warrants and Telkom got 1,271,” says the statement from the organisation.
R2K have called for law reform to end the abuse. As part of their suggestions, the organisation has called for an end to sim card registration to allow South Africans the freedom to communicate anonymously. They have also called for greater transparency and demand that all civilians be notified when their information is being accessed.