If data is the currency of the future, then POPIA is the new Sherriff in town!

Personal data leaks always grab global news headlines, and the Facebook privacy breach that happened a couple of years ago kinda stole the limelight and put consumer data integrity (or the lack thereof) on the map. Back home in South Africa, our government has been hard at work, for the past several years, on the robust piece of “you can’t do that with my personal info” legislation called POPIA, which stands for the Protection of Personal Information Act.

It’s a bit of a mouthful but the Protection of Personal Information Act (let’s just stick with POPIA) has been eight years in the making and on the 1st of July 2021 the legislation finally gave companies a year to get their house in order. In this post we are simply going to touch on the high-level stuff, but if you want to dive deeper into POPIA, feel free to click on this useful link.

‘The integrity of your personal information’ is what this new piece of legislation deals with at its core.

Now that we are all completely engulfed in our 21st century “always plugged in” world, it is easy to understand how important data protection will be, going forward. Companies, including the ones on whose Apps we spend our lives on, sharing all types of personal photos and feelings, have had a free pass at sharing your information with anyone they like for a very long-time.

On occasion, large corporations’ databases have been hacked or a whistleblower has been courageous enough to step forward and divulge crucial information about what certain companies actually do with our info. These things make us all step back and contemplate the risks we take when we enter into service agreements, buy products or simply chat and share online.

But within 30 minutes we somehow forget what we’ve just read or heard as we entertain another message on an instant chat service😊

The new POPIA legislation is going to make it unlawful for South African companies to share your data with anyone, unless you have explicitly provided specific consent for them to do so. Not only can your information not be shared, but companies entrusted with your details, must have stringent data warehousing and compliance protocols in place.

It’s also going to put an end to horrible, wholesale, blanket direct marketing practices that sometimes border on complete harassment.

Heavy fines and even jail time will now be a deterrent for anyone who steps out of line with your data. While it’s taken eight years to develop this Act, it looks like this piece of legislation has landed at exactly the right time as data becomes the new global currency.

At Stangen we welcome the introduction of POPIA and urge you to look at our privacy policy.

Have any thoughts on the new POPIA legislation? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Until next time.

The Wise About Life Team

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