A new year – and new challenges for those of us who work to ensure organisations meet regulatory requirements. What does 2017 hold in store in for us? Here are our predictions. Not all our predictions will prove right, but our predictions should empower you to plan your year ahead and we hope it is a very good one for you.
Data Protection Compliance will become urgent
The GDPR grace period enters its second and final year, and POPI will commence by 24 May 2017 with a one-year grace period. This will mean that by 24 May 2018 you must comply with these privacy and data protection laws (whichever applies to you). There is no time to lose and much of the hard work needs to be done in 2017 (especially the implementation action items).
Access to (or Freedom of) Information
Who has access to what information when will continue to be at the heart of many disputes. In today’s information society, information empowers and those who are denied access to information will be disempowered and will be excluded from economic opportunities. If you are focusing on privacy compliance you also have to focus on access to information compliance because they are two sides of the same coin.
Incident of Data Fraud or Theft
There is a good chance that your organisation will be the target of cybercrime, a cyber attack or suffer a massive incident of data (or intellectual property) fraud or theft. Dealing with the fallout (including legal aspects) will take months to contain. You need to prepare in advance so that you are best placed to take action when the incident occurs and time is of the essence.
Technology is shaping many different areas of law and this requires law reform. Many Copyright laws are old and outdated and are currently being amended. There will be major changes to existing copyright laws this year, which will have an impact on your intellectual property.
Managing the Legal aspects of Technology Disruption
Technology will continue to disrupt all industries and organisations, and raise many interesting and difficult legal questions. For example, business will push to use electronic signatures rather than hand written signatures. Knowing electronic signature law is vital to achieve this. Imagine having thousands of documents signed with an electronic signature only to find out that they are not legally enforceable.
People will demand Good Governance
Stakeholders will demand that governing bodies apply good governance, especially IT governance, risk and compliance for organisations that are dependent on information technology. For example, citizens will demand that government and other public bodies follow laws and codes that set out the responsibilities of the governing body. So too will shareholders demand that boards apply the King Report and Code.
The Cloud will raise Compliance Questions
As the use of the cloud increases so do the related disputes and legal issues. Ensuring that you comply with applicable regulatory requirements in multiple jurisdictions (across Africa and the rest of the world) becomes very important. Governments in many countries will try to get access to data held in the cloud. The term cloud compliance (together with cyber security) will be mentioned often in boardrooms.
Plain Legal Language becomes the norm
For years lawyers have drafted in legalese with a few exceptional documents being in plain legal language. People were resistant to plain language. In 2017, plain legal language is the norm and people expect all legal documents to be plain.
Robot and drone law become Specialist Areas
As more and more people buy and use drones and robots, drone law and robot law will grow in significance. Many people will find these laws difficult to comply with and therefore there will be much unlawful flying of drones.
Those are our predictions of the major regulatory themes or priorities for 2107. Do you think we’ve left out anything that applies to you? We are interested in any comments or thoughts you have. Please feel free to email us and let us know.