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Suggestions for right to privacy-related questions to be included in the list of issues on South Africa, Human Rights Committee, 114th session, June-July 2015

Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the right of every person to be protected against arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence as well as against unlawful attacks on his honour or reputation. Any interference with the right to privacy can only be justified if it is in accordance with the law, has a legitimate objective and is conducted in a way that is necessary and proportionate. Surveillance activities must only be conducted when they are the only means of achieving a legitimate aim, or when there are multiple means, they are the least likely to infringe upon human rights.

Privacy International, Right2Know, and the Association for Progressive Communications have ongoing concerns on the practices of surveillance by South African intelligence and law enforcement agencies. National legislation governing surveillance is inadequate, leaving significant regulatory gaps and providing weak safeguards, oversight and remedies against unlawful interference with the right to privacy, including mass surveillance. The government has also failed to meaningfully regulate the practice of the surveillance industry, having instead provided public funding to companies that export surveillance technologies to be used in violation of the right to privacy.