South Africa’s Constitutional Court has declared the law which governs the communication surveillance activities of the country’s intelligence community unconstitutional.
The case was based on evidence that the state spied on investigative journalist Sam Sole, of amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, while he was communicating with a source in the National Prosecuting Authority.
The judgment is a huge advance for privacy and freedom of expression. It means that rogue spies will be less able to manipulate the process to spy on journalists, lawyers, activists and others purely because they are critical of the state. When they ask a judge for permission to conduct surveillance, they will have to be much more careful about justifying the request.