R2K concerned about legal loopholes regarding cell phone records

The R2K has filed requests using the promotion of access to information act to ask MTN, Vodacom, Telkom & Cell C how often they are forced to hand over information.

FILE: A mobile phone. Picture: Shimoney Regter/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Right2Know Campaign says it believes that a legal loophole allowing cell network operators to handover sensitive customer information may be open to abuse.

The campaign has filed requests using the Promotion of Access to Information Act to ask MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C how often they are forced to hand over information.

Recently, the Daily Maverick reported that there’s a legal loophole that allows magistrates to authorise thousands of surveillance operations every year, forcing telecoms companies to hand over customer information such as their call records.

The organisation’s Murray Hunter says: “We’re very concerned that this loophole is open to abuse. We’re very concerned that these interactions are happening without customers being notified and this has led to abuses in the past.

“So in order to begin to assess how big the problem is, we simply want those statistics and we think that it’s not an unreasonable request but I’m sure some cellphone operators may disagree.”