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  • Stéffani Flies

THE PROTECTION OF PRIVATE INFORMATION ACT – THE SAFEGUARDING OF YOUR INFORMATION


Date: 01 May 2020


We have all received those automated calls selling insurance, medical aid or cell phones and then we ask ourselves the question “Where did they get my information?”. The answer is that there is a believe that one company with all your information, sells your information to another company. The questions to be answered is, how can your information be protected?

The Protection of Private Information Act, also known as the POPI Act, is a piece of legislation written with the aim to “promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies”. The POPI Act is written, but it is not yet promulgated into legislation yet, but this Act will attempt to protect personal information of an individual.

The right to privacy is a constitutional right. Section 14 of the Constitution states that everyone has the right to privacy. This right includes the right to not have your home or property searched, your possession seized and your privacy of your communications infringed. This can be interpreted that you also have the right that your personal information should remain private.

The POPI Act defines personal information as “information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person, and where it is applicable, an identifiable, existing, juristic person”. The information which must be protected is information relating, but not limited to, to a person’s race, gender, sex, any identifying number e-mail address, telephone number, physical address, biometric information. The list of information which will be protected in terms of the POPI Act, is set out in the Act and it includes everything that can identify a person.

The whole aim of the POPI Act is to protect your personal information and to regulate the manner in which personal information may be the processed. The short and just of the Act aims is to protect your personal information to be distributed between persons, parties and companies. This Act also states that the object to the processing of personal information is not have your information processed for the purpose of direct marketing.

Direct marketing, as defined in the Consumer Protection Act, “means to approach a person for the direct or indirect purpose of (1) promoting or offering to supply, in the ordinary course of business, any goods or services to the person or (2) requesting the person to make a donation of any kind for any reason.

The POPI Act condemns the spreading of personal information between companies which uses your information for direct marketing purposes. The Consumer Protection Act states that the right of person to privacy includes the right to not accept, to discontinue or to block any communication for the purposes of direct marketing.

Even though the POPI Act is not yet promulgated, you can still inform any company and person who calls you with the aim to sell you something or offer you a service, that you are unsure as to how they acquired your personal information and that they are acting against the Consumer Protection Act.

Should you require any other further information with regards to the POPI Act or the Consumer Protection Act, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.

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