President Jacob Zuma has signed the protection of personal information bill into law.
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) sets conditions for how companies can process information.
“The act will give effect to the right to privacy, by introducing measures to ensure that the personal information of an individual is safeguarded when it is processed by responsible parties,” according to presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.
It seeks to balance the right to privacy against other rights, particularly the right of access to information, and to protect the free flow of information within and across the country’s borders.
Business has one year from the commencement date to comply with the Act or face significant consequences, which can include a R10 million fine or 10 years in prison.
What is personal information?
The type of information that is covered by POPI includes:
- Contact details such as email, telephone number, address
- Demographic information including age, sex, race, birth date, ethnicity
- History: employment, financial, educational, criminal, medical history
- Biometric information: blood type etc.