Page 252

SOUTH AFRICA

250

by an amendment to the regulations gazetted in terms of the Disaster Management Act that require telecommunications providers to supply geolocation data to health authorities for the purposes of contact tracing only. While the legal status of the ‘directions’ issued by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies is not clear, what is clear however is that the Disaster Management Act authorises regulations including the detailed contact tracing regulations. In May 2020 media reported that the obligations on telecommunications operators to provide data to the public sector had been removed based on communication by the acting Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies on deletion of the earlier wide-ranging Ministerial ‘directions’. However the disaster management contact tracing regulations, including the provisions on judicial oversight remain in force. The regulations limit the scope of collection of mobile data by a COVID-19 tracing database to only those people who are known (or reasonably suspected) to have come into contact with anyone known (or reasonably suspected) to have already contracted the virus. The information is fed into the contact-tracing database of the Department of Health, for which the Director General of Public Health is responsible. The regulations also ensure oversight of the process by a designated ‘COVID-19 Judge’, and the Minister of Justice and Correctional Service, Raymond Lamola, astutely appointed respected Former Constitutional Judge, Kate O’Regan, to monitor the collection and use of location data for the contact database. That said, the COVID-19 regulations in question have been injected abruptly into an incomplete data protection landscape in South Africa. Although legislation on personal data protection (the Protection of Personal Information Act, or POPIA) was passed in 2013, it is not yet fully in force. Indeed, the recent data collection developments might have pitted the disempowered Information Regulator against the COVID-19 National Command Council established under the Disaster Dispatches

Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded