Article by Fawzia Khan, and attorney based in Durban
The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 2013, (the “POPI” Act), which is expected to come into effect during the course of 2020, regulates how organizations who have personal data and information stored on their systems are allowed to transfer and share that personal information to others.
Many businesses will need to be compliant especially as the POPI Act will have an impact in the manner in which their customer and employee details are to be stored or used. A business may not be allowed to store the personal information of its customers without the customer’s consent. Also, the personal information is only allowed to be stored for as long as is necessary. Unsolicited marketing is prohibited unless a person opts in to accept to receive such marketing material.
Our right to privacy is enshrined in the Constitution and in terms of the Bill of Rights, the State is expected to respect, promote and fulfil the rights which are as set out in the Bill of Rights. With that in mind the POPI Act sets out what the minimum standard requirements are for those bodies or institutions who have our personal data and information. The Act also provides codes of conduct for the manner in which unsolicited electronic communications must be regulated. The right to privacy includes a right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information.
The actual date when the Act is set to come into effect is as yet unknown, although the expected date is rumoured to be likely to be 1 April 2020. It will be implemented once the President proclaims it in the government gazette. All the privacy provisions which are currently in place in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, The Promotions of Access to Information Act, The Consumer Protection Act and The National Credit Act, will be amended to allow the POPI Act to prevail.
So what is regarded as an individual’s personal information? These would include your identity/ passport number, date of birth and age, your cellular and landline number/s, email addresses, sexual orientation, disability, home address, gender, race, photos, voice recordings, video footage including CCTV, biometric data, marital status, criminal records, religious convictions, political beliefs, affiliations to organisations, employment history, financial and educational history, all aspects pertaining to one’s health including one’s medical history and blood type.
Talk to us about and we can advise you on how to ensure that your business is compliant with the POPI Act.
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