Cellphone service providers have been conscripted into updating the government on everyone’s whereabouts during the Covid-19 lockdown. This encroachment on the right to privacy is severe and does not satisfy the requirement of constitutional justification. In this and other ways, the government has overreacted to the outbreak of coronavirus, and it would do well to remain calm and adhere to constitutional precepts for the remainder of the crisis.

On March 26, the day the Covid-19 lockdown began, the communications and digital technologies department published its supplemental regulations to the main lockdown regulations that confined most South Africans to their homes. Regulation 8 requires certain licensees in the internet and digital sector to “provide location-based services in collaboration with the relevant authorities identified to support designated departments to assist and combat the spread of Covid-19”...

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