CAPE TOWN — There is no plan yet for regulations or legislation regarding BlackBerry’s encrypted messenger service (BBM), as the government’s cyber policy was still being devised, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said yesterday.
This comes amid growing concern over the use of BBM in civil unrest, particularly in last week’s African National Congress Youth League riot and the service delivery protests at Thembelihle last weekend. It is also in sharp contrast to the statement from Communications Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, who recently called for new regulations for BBM.
Mr Bapela’s call has puzzled experts who believe SA already has legislation granting law enforcement authorities access to messages — the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (Rica).
Mr Radebe told a news conference on the performance of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of ministries that the government had made no decision regarding BlackBerry, adding that “anything about BlackBerry is premature”.
His deputy, Andries Nel, said that there were increasingly favourable reports about the use of Rica in helping police secure convictions with intercepted cellphone evidence.
“In the past couple of weeks convictions in a number of cases have turned exactly on cellphone evidence, either in terms of the communication between individuals involved in crime, or determining the location of individuals who were involved in crime.”
This year millions of South Africans registered their SIM cards under threat of disconnection. Once registered, SIM cards can be used to trace those who use cellphones to commit crimes. With I-Net Bridge