Friday, 14 October 2011

Government not protecting citizens from illegal spying

Article by Marc Aupiais

Media now claims that police and intelligence officials are bypassing court orders, to access the permanent record of : all phone and electronic, private conversations: in under 36 hours, easily and illegally.

The Regulation of the Interception of Communications Act Amendment Act, RICA was not about registering phones to people. The true purpose, which unless you read page something far in of the Pretoria News, guessed it from the Johannesburg Star, or read the actual act, is still a frightening concept.

Every SMS you wrote was already kept for 5 years by Vodacom, MTN, Cell C etc. Now. Every phone call (a voice recording), sms (text), mms, email that you make has to be kept permanently for the government, as I reported for South African Catholic earlier in this emerging situation.

The government needed a court order to access this permanent record. They had to suspect you of criminal activity. To access every word you utter in private, they needed a court order.
According to the Mail and Guardian (owned by British "The Guardian"), and to their major competitors Primedia ("Eyewitness News"), police and intelligence officials are bypassing court orders, to access private conversations in under 36 hours illegally. Primedia claims that the practice is rampant in crime intelligence.

The state has still not been able to break into the Blackberry encryption, and it appears that Blackberry doesn't allow local partners access either. It is suggested a bill will be put to vote in March on whether to force compliance. Blackberry has claimed they will refuse access, but with activist shareholders threatening to gut the company after a recent outage, it is uncertain whether the last hold-out will remain.

After all, non-enterprise Blackberry email likely is read by the government already. BBM, and enterprise email still seem the last safe way to avoid your e-conversations, and phone calls the equivalent of speaking into a dictaphone for someone else's permanent record.

If the practice is rife for government means, it is almost certainly rife for private purposes. It was through espionage conducted on former President Thabo Mbeki and the former NPA Scorpions head, that the Mbeki government fell, and Zuma got away with avoiding courts of law.

That accidental flirting in an adulterous manner, so-called sexting, gossiping, rumours, discontent with the state, that moment in time when you lost it, swore, let off steam... Such popular means of using electronics... Such a dangerous animal trap.

Don't just be careful what you write on social networks! Watch your every breath.

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