There has been a lot of confusion (understandably) about the Protection of Information Bill (POI) and the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI), though that extra ‘P’ makes all the difference.

First of all, they are different bills, dealing with very different areas of law (despite the similarity in their names). POPI deals with the protection and processing of personal information, that is information about you or your customers (Such as selling personal information to brokers or other companies). While the POI deals with the classification of state (i.e. government) information and who has access to it (such as results of parliamentary investigations).  POPI will have an impact on business whereas POI will have a big impact on society in general.

The POI has been receiving a lot of media coverage, mostly negative, as it is seen by some as a means for the government to cover-up corruption and other embarrassing information, and has been labelled as unconstitutional by some legal commentators.

POPI on the other hand has recieved little to no media coverage, but is perfectly constitutional, and is going to have a huge impact on how organisations run their business’s.  So don’t be fooled, POPI is coming (and with it a whole lot of risks) and if you deal with any sort of personal information you need to be prepared for the effect it will have on your business.