The South African Communist Party (SACP) has expressed fear that the use of security agencies in political battles would intensify after a report emerged showing that police were eavesdropping on thousands of citizens. The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) revealed on Wednesday that the police spied on 70,000 cellphones in 2016, in a trend that has raised concern about citizens’ right to privacy. In its report, R2K pointed to legislative loopholes that allowed mass surveillance by the police through the Criminal Procedure Act, when the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) should be the principal law on the matter. The report said that in 2016, MTN received 23,762 warrants for customers’ call records, while Vodacom got 18,594, Cell C 6,455 warrants and Telkom 1,271. In some cases, the same warrant would be sent to several service providers and it was, therefore, not possible to add these numbers together to get the total n...

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