There is an international consensus that the collection, processing and use of personal data should be regulated by a management body. The existence of uniform rules on the processing of personal data will not only protect individuals and organisations from costly breaches, but will also facilitate international trade, as data protection concerns can be a major barrier to cross-border trade. Technology is constantly evolving, so data protection law must evolve with it. The Personal Information Protection Act in South Africa is older than many other data protection laws, but was introduced over several years and is therefore quite topical. Part of the information regulator`s role is also to conduct research, consult and work with Parliament to further develop the Act. The Act aims to promote the protection of personal data processed in South Africa and gives prosecutable rights to the right to privacy enshrined in the Bill of Rights. POPIA aligns South Africa with global best practices in data protection. It applies to any organisation that processes information in South Africa. It does not apply to processing for personal or household purposes.
Personal data has a broad meaning and is any information that can be used to identify a natural or legal person. POPIA is one of the few data protection laws in the world that also protects legal entities (e.g. companies and trusts). POPIA has been a work in progress since it was proposed for implementation by the South African Law Reform Commission in 2005. The delay in adoption was due in part to the publication of the draft EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in 2013, when POPA`s editorial board took a break to review some of the innovations proposed in the GDPR and take steps to ensure that the South African Data Protection Authority (i.e. The Information Regulator (“SAIR”) has had the opportunity to develop operational capabilities. In this regard, POPIA entered into force over a longer period, with the first provisions allowing in particular the creation of SARs entering into force on 11 April 2014. So far, SAIR has taken steps to become fully operational, such as issuing regulations, establishing codes of conduct and raising public awareness.
Accordingly, the general data protection provisions of data protection law also apply to online privacy. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa guarantees the right to privacy. In addition, certain provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002 (“ECTA”) govern the electronic collection of personal information, although compliance with these provisions is voluntary. However, these ECTA provisions on the protection of personal data will be repealed on 30 June 2021 (see below). In today`s digital economy, organizations face unprecedented challenges in managing the privacy and cybersecurity risks associated with the collection, use and disclosure of personal information about their customers and employees. The complex framework of global legal requirements for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information makes it imperative that modern businesses have a nuanced understanding of the issues if they are to compete in today`s economy. The Personal Information Protection Act (POPIA) is South Africa`s federal data protection law for the protection of individuals` privacy, which is considered a human right. The law describes when it is legal for a company, such as a company, to process the personal data of another company, such as that of an individual. Zeyn Bhyat of ENSafrica reports that on the 22nd. In June 2020, it was announced that South Africa`s comprehensive Data Protection Act, known as the Personal Information Protection Act 2013 (POPIA), will come into force on 1 July 2020.