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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Jane Duncan.]

A recent high court judgment has opened up important space for South Africans to decide what powers spy agencies should and shouldn’t have. Bulk surveillance is one of the powers it shouldn’t.

In a recent, ringing judgment on the right to privacy, high court judge Roland Sutherland ruled that bulk surveillance activities and foreign signals interception undertaken by the National Communications Centre (NCC) are unlawful and invalid. The NCC is part of the State Security Agency (SSA).

Bulk surveillance involves the collection and analysis of massive amounts of information obtained from electronic signals, including communication and internet traffic, on an untargeted basis, for intelligence-gathering purposes. There does not have to be a reasonable suspicion of criminality to trigger this form of surveillance, which is why it is often called “suspicionless” surveillance.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.1% y/y in March 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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