Internet pirate arrest: did Safact break the law?

It is unlikely that the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact) has run afoul of Rica in identifying and accusing a Cape Town man of illegally distributing copyrighted material online.

This is according to Nicholas Hall, a lawyer at Michalsons Attorneys, a firm which specialises in South African information and communication technology law.

The Regulation of Interception of Communications and provision of communication-related information Act, or Rica, is known for its requirement that users provide proof of identity and address to buy and activate a cellular SIM card.

However, Rica and its associated regulations also stipulate what must be done to legally intercept communications in South Africa.

“I see a few people have been raising questions around whether Safact committed an offence in terms of Rica in tracing and presumably identifying the man,” Hall said.

“I think this is unlikely, as Rica has several exceptions for law enforcement offices to intercept communications, even without a warrant, and I think it is likely that one of these exemptions will apply in this instance,” Hall said.

Before it is possible to come to a conclusion on this, however, Hall said that the full facts of the case would need to become available first.

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Internet pirate arrest: did Safact break the law?