South Africans are worried the government will use coronavirus phone tracking to spy on them

South Africa’s government has to had to assure citizens it won’t spy on them after news that it plans to use contact tracing as part of the Covid-19 management strategy.

Published in the Government Gazette on Mar. 26, the initial direction was criticized for being too vague, and consequently for possibly facilitating unorthodox surveillance. The original directive forced telecommunications providers to give government access to their customers data in a plan to track the movement of South Africans through their mobile phones.

The idea was to be able to use location-based services to easily find recent contacts of Covid-19 coronavirus patients in a bid to control the spread of the disease.

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