Last week’s Constitutional Court judgment declaring it illegal for the state to spy on people without their knowing is a ringing endorsement of the right to privacy. But of more immediate concern for the state — and specifically the State Security Agency (SSA) — is the court’s finding that "bulk surveillance" is also unlawful. The court held that there is simply no law to authorise it.

The landmark case was brought by investigative journalism outfit amaBhungane and its managing partner Sam Sole. Sole had been unable to prove that the state was spying on him until a transcript of a conversation he’d had with prosecutor Billy Downer became part of the court papers...

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