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Cell phone privacy in South Africa: What you need to know

Did you know? 

According to the 14th section of our constitution, everyone is entitled to privacy. 

Let's address frequent questions about mobile phone privacy in South Africa. 

How can you obtain your mobile phone records in South Africa?  

Three methods exist to secure your mobile phone records; however, we suggest verifying with your service provider as their procedures may vary. 

Step 1: Review the final pages of your monthly mobile phone bill received either by mail or email from your provider. 
Step 2: Create an online account on your service provider's platform. Look for sections on the platform titled "Billing and Payment" or something similar. 
Step 3: Reach out to your service provider and request their support. 

Mobile phone records, often known as Call Detail Records, will typically reveal: 

  • The phone number of the caller
  • The duration of the call 
  • The time the call began and ended 
  • The tower that facilitated the call  

Is it possible to acquire someone else's mobile phone records in South Africa?  

Obtaining another person's mobile phone records is only permissible when filing a lawsuit for legal purposes. The records can be legally requested as part of an ongoing legal case, meaning you cannot get these records out of personal curiosity. 

Do mobile phone records include text messages?  

While text messages are included in the phone record, the content of these messages is typically not disclosed. Retrieving the contents of these messages might be more challenging than it seems. 

You can reach out to your mobile provider as early as possible to request the content of the messages. However, due to various systems that dispatch messages, not all text messages are categorised in the same way. 

For instance, Apple employs end-to-end encryption and a data/WiFi connection for sending and receiving messages. Consequently, your mobile company doesn't have access to this information. Similarly, Apple also doesn't have access, as they possess an encrypted version of your messages and can't decrypt it. Thus, your privacy remains secure between you and the recipient of your messages. 

Is it unlawful to disclose someone's phone number without their consent?  

Disclosing someone's phone number for valid reasons is not unlawful. However, it becomes illegal concerning criminal or illicit activities such as harassment or stalking. Therefore, ensure that when sharing someone's phone number, it falls into the right hands, given that many scammers, identity thieves, and hackers employ sophisticated tactics to convince you to share phone numbers. 

Which mobile phone offers the most privacy?  

According to the below phones offer great privacy: 

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max  
  • Google Pixel 6 

Why is it critical to maintain privacy for your information on mobile devices?  

Mobile phones have evolved to become more than just communication devices. They store vast amounts of personal information, including passwords, emails, bank details, social media profiles, and other data. If your digital privacy is breached, it can feel like a violation of your personal life. Hence, it's crucial to take measures to ensure your mobile phone is secured and protected. 

In conclusion, mobile privacy is an area that must be considered in our digitally-driven lives. As technology evolves and our dependence on these devices increases, we need to safeguard our personal data and privacy. 

In addition to taking the steps mentioned above to secure your privacy, it's equally important to protect your device against physical damage, theft, and loss. Often, your cellphone is the gateway to your private world, and any harm can lead to significant disruptions and potential data loss. 

Techsured understands this intricate relationship you share with your mobile device. Our comprehensive cellphone insurance, underwritten by Guardrisk Insurance Company Limited, provides protection against physical accidental damages and gives you the peace of mind you deserve.  

Don't wait for a mishap to realise the importance of cellphone insurance. Visit our cellphone insurance page today and find the right plan that fits your needs. Secure your device and rest easy knowing that Techsured has you covered. Because at Techsured, we believe in proactive protection.