Kate O’Regan (62), a former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, has been appointed to monitor the government’s tracking of citizens’ cellphones.
As of Thursday, the South African government can trace the movements of any South African cellphone user back as far as 5 March, in order to fight COVID-19.
That movement data will go into a special database to identify anyone who may have had physical contact with a person known to be carrying the SARS-Cov-2 virus, for possible testing and quarantine.
Users whose locations are traced need not be notified initially, but O’Regan will be given a list of the people affected – after the fact – in order to make recommendations about privacy protections. In the month after the state of national disaster is ended, those who were tracked must be told their movements had been traced.
The database is due to be de-identified, leaving only general data for future study, six weeks after South Africa’s national state of disaster around COVID-19 is declared over.