POPI is law having been signed into law in November 2013 but what does it mean to your organisation and how to you start tacking the new law?
Do you remember the old story about how to get things moving? That’s right, the one about the stick and the carrot! Well now we have something new to focus our attention on: Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act No.4 of 2013 (POPI Act). Gazetted in late 2013, with partial commencement in April 2014, now is the time to get things moving in terms of compliance with the Act.
So where is the “stick and carrot” for POPI?
Think about how broad the definition of “personal information” can be: customers, employees, suppliers, in fact anyone we interact with as a business. The POPI Act was signed into law in November 2013 and is expected to become effective in the next few months. Organisations will then have twelve months to become fully compliant or face the prospect of some potentially stiff penalties (including fines of up to R10 million) or worse reputational damage and loss of customers. That’s the “stick” part of the deal.
The “carrot” aspect is the opportunity to boost confidence in your business by demonstrating the way you manage sensitive personal data. Personal information includes data of customers, suppliers and employees, whether they are in emails, invoices, databases or printouts. This means showing you have processes and procedures in place to handle effectively and securely all aspects of what’s covered in the POPI Act.
Where does POPI come from?
Privacy and Data Protection Acts have already existed in other countries for several years. Examples of these are the European Union (EU) Data Protection Act which came into effect in 1995, the UK Data Protection Act (1998). The POPI Act is modelled on the EU legislation to a large extent, and POPI has been written to ensure that South Africa is line with international best practice.
Conditions contained in the POPI Act
There are 8 conditions in the act, a brief description of these is shown below.
What does POPI mean to you and your stakeholders?
So we know that POPI is law now, what are the basic "Dos and Don't"?
POPI “Dos and Don’ts”
So where should you start?
Now that POPI is law, where should you start?
A number of steps should be taken to prepare for POPI becoming effective. These include:
Authors: Dr Peter Tobin, John Cato, and Professor David Taylor, May 2014.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your requirements and how we can be of assistance to you with your POPI journey.