Law enforcement abuses surveillance to spy on cellphones, says R2K Campaign

Civil rights organisation Right2Know (R2K) Campaign has raised concerns that intelligence agencies are spying on citizens for reasons unrelated to criminal investigations.

R2K says roughly 70 000 South African phones are being spied on each year by law enforcement agencies‚ through a loophole in the country's surveillance policies.

The group collected statistics from the country's top four network providers.

In some cases these people who are being targeted for this surveillance are actually not under any criminal investigation and are being targeted because the information on their phones is of value to people whose intentions aren't very good.

 Murray Hunter, Right2Know campaign organiser

R2K says citizens are not notified about the privacy breach and says cellphone providers should inform mobile users when they hand over your data.

He explains that the law forces cellphone providers to store logs of who mobile users communicate with and their locations, for at least five years.

Th big picture here is this growing concern of use and abuse of surveillance in South African society.

 Murray Hunter, Right2Know campaign organiser

We have a very human rights-focused society on paper, but the laws and policies we see in practice are not complying with those rights.

 Murray Hunter, Right2Know campaign organiser

As we see rising police brutality, the intelligence agencies becoming more politically factional, surveillance and spying on citizens is part of the problem.

 Murray Hunter, Right2Know campaign organiser

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