Information and communication technologies (ICT) have caused unprecedented change during the previous two-and-a-half decades. Whereas previously communication technologies used analogue methods, digitalisation means data can be generated in a private network, beamed across a roof via microwave, re-ordered on an ethernet backbone and then wander out over a public-switched line to be broadcast via satellite to an overseas receiver — all without corruption at the other end. The message becomes everything: the underlying network technology, irrelevant. Many countries, SA included, have tried to adapt their legal systems to reflect the convergence of different media. The Electronic Communications Act (ECA) ushered in substantial change from the previous Telecommunications Act and, for the most part, is in line with international best practice. The government’s 2016 ICT policy, and, by extension, the new Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, however, exacerbates the bad aspects of the...

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