Bulk surveillance is unlawful, says the High Court of South Africa

In a historic judgement delivered on 16 September, the High Court in Pretoria South Africa ‘declared that the bulk surveillance activities and foreign signals interception undertaken by the National Communications Centre are unlawful and invalid’.
The decision, as reported by Privacy International, serves as a ‘powerful rejection of years of secret and unchecked surveillance by South African authorities against millions of people – irrespective of whether they reside in South Africa’.
The case was brought forward by two applicants, the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and journalist Stephen Patrick Sole. They sought to challenge the constitutionality of certain sections of the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act of 2002 (RICA) and the National Strategic Intelligence Act 39 of 1994 (NSIA) since in their view, they violate the right to privacy. They court’s decision has therefore brought to rest the contentious provisions of those Acts.