SA phone hacking scandal

South Africa's intelligence service, the National Intelligence Agency, has been accused of hacking mobile calls and SMSs from unsuspecting users, raising fears of recently enacted spying laws.

South Africa last year passed what many have described as the "evil" law under the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (Rica) which allows state security or police to spy on cell phone users suspected to be plotting crimes.

However, in this case the state is being accused of spying on certain members of the public without court clearance.

Expressing grave concern over the alleged violation of privacy was the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille, who complained of "illegal phone hacking" following some exposure by a local weekly paper.

"Government agents are abusing their power to spy on individuals without permission from a judge as required by law," said Zille. “I have written to President Zuma requesting him to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into the state's illegal interception of communication.”

Zille demanded to know why there were insufficient checks and balances to protect people's privacy and why inspecting authorities were failing to detect illegal interceptions.

"President Zuma must allay people's fears of a surveillance state and establish an independent Commission of Inquiry without delay," Zille said.

Post published in: Africa News

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