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Govt can as of Thursday use phone data to trace users to slow spread of Covid-19

3 April 2020 2:12 PM
Tags:
Smartphone
Cellphone
Clement Manyathela
privacy
Werksmans Attorneys
data privacy
mobile phone
coronavirus in south afrca
covid-19 in south africa
Ahmore Burger-Smidt

"The data will be de-identified after Covid-19," says Ahmore Burger-Smidt (Werksmans Attorneys). "Until then, is it secure?"

South Africa is following the lead of countries such as China and Israel in using mobile phone technology to slow the rate of Covid-19 infections.

MTN logo on smartphone. Image: 123rf.com

In China, the government and tech giants Tencent and Alibaba are tracking millions of people using a mandatory smartphone application.

In Israel, the government passed an emergency law, enabling it to use cellphone data to track people with Covid-19 and to find and quarantine others.

Normally in South Africa, it would be illegal to track people in this manner.

However, as of Thursday, the government can – without having to notify them - trace the movements of any South African cellphone user as far back as the 5th of March in order to fight Covid-19.

Clement Manyathela interviewed Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Director at Werksmans Attorneys.

What is the extent of the security of this database that will prevent it from being penetrated by cybercriminals? … They’ll connect your name, your address, your ID number, your telephone number…

Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Director - Werksmans Attorneys

It [the data] will be de-identified [after Covid-19] … up until it is de-identified; is the information secure?

Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Director - Werksmans Attorneys

We’re not unique in South Africa… we’ve seen other jurisdictions going far further…

Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Director - Werksmans Attorneys

For more detail, listen to the interview in the audio below.

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3 April 2020 2:12 PM
Tags:
Smartphone
Cellphone
Clement Manyathela
privacy
Werksmans Attorneys
data privacy
mobile phone
coronavirus in south afrca
covid-19 in south africa
Ahmore Burger-Smidt

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