We need to protect personal information to protect people from harm. People can have their money stolen, lose access to credit, be physically assaulted, have their identity stolen, be discriminated against, and become the target of unwanted persistent marketing. These are some of the devastating impacts of not protecting personal information. Protecting people’s personal information prevents the likelihood of these things from happening. This is why the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) has been enacted.

Who are these people who need protection?

It is mostly the poor and the middle class, but also the wealthy. It is the elderly, the uneducated, and the unaware. The primary objective of POPI is to protect individuals – natural people who are private citizens and voters. Not Government, not businesses. POPI does protect legal entities to a limited extent, but this is not the focus.

Who should protect this information?

Any organisation (businesses and government for example) that processes personal information. This includes banks, the Department of Home Affairs, all employers, SARS, online stores, digital marketing companies – the list goes on. POPI requires public bodies to protect the personal information of citizens.

As a society, we should always strive to protect others from harm. We should be looking after our customers, our employees, and others with whom we interact. If your organisation processes a lot of personal information (especially bank account numbers) you need to be aware of what the law requires you to do. In particular, information officers, compliance officers, legal advisors, IT managers, and risk officers need to be aware.

What action can you take?

Michalsons is passionate about protecting people from harm, which is why we are running awareness workshops on POPI again in February 2016 in all the major centers. We also help organisations to implement the changes they need to make in order to comply with the law. To understand what you need to do, book now to attend our full day public POPI Workshops.

Watch a short video in which John talks about why data protection is important.