Personal information is valuable and sensitive data, which if compromised can cause serious harm to individuals. The importance of PoPi Compliance cannot be overstated, as it aims to protect such information from being misused or exploited. In this article, we'll discuss the Popi Act, its importance, ensuring business compliance, and the link between digital marketing and the PoPi Act.
What Is The PoPi Act?
The Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa, signed into law in 2013, aims to protect personal information, falling into the broader Constitutional right to privacy. It enables businesses to regulate how information is organised, stored, secured, and discarded.
Do You Need To Comply With The PoPI Act?
The short answer is yes.
If your business stores, processes, or collects personal information, it falls under the jurisdiction of the PoPI Act and must comply with its regulations.
According to an article published by Michalsons, you need to apply the PoPi Act if your business is domiciled in South Africa or if your business is not domiciled in South Africa but processes personal information in South Africa.
What Happens If You Don't Comply With The PoPi Act?
If you and/or your business do not comply with the PoPI Act, you could face serious consequences. These include fines of up to R10 million, imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both. In addition to legal penalties, non-compliance can also lead to damage to your brand's reputation and loss of trust from your stakeholders.
The Importance Of PoPI Compliance
Now, let's talk about why complying with the PoPI Act is important:
- It is the right thing to do in terms of human rights.
- You and/or your business can avoid legal consequences.
- It ensures that cyber attacks, data breaches, and data theft are mitigated.
- It promotes transparency and trust between you and your customers.
- It helps build a strong brand reputation.
- Compliance can give you a competitive edge in the market, as it shows that you value privacy and take measures to protect personal information.
How To Comply With The PoPI Act
Here are a few tips to help your business become PoPI-compliant:
Assess Your Business Situation
Assess your business's current level of PoPI compliance as well as which steps you're currently taking to comply, keeping in mind the potential growth and changes your company may undergo in the future. To protect the integrity and confidentiality of your personal information, PoPI steers you into taking responsible technological and organisational measures.
Partner Up with Professionals
Complying with the PoPI Act can be daunting for any business, especially if an in-house specialist is not appointed to ease the process. For this reason, we recommend hiring legal professionals to assist your business in setting up an Information Security Management System (ISMS) to help you comply with the PoPI Act.
Increase Information Security Protocols
Management teams must know where information is stored, whether electronically or on paper, and set efficient protocols in place to ensure the destruction of information that is no longer relevant. This serves to increase information security.
Shredding is the most effective data destruction method for physical documentation, while permanently deleting data is the safest method for electronic information. Your company should also have strict encryption measures to safeguard personal information during its processing, storage and transmission.
Invest in Employee Training
All employees must undergo training to fully understand the PoPI Act and its implications for the business. Businesses should develop policies and procedures that align with the PoPI Act, and every employee must be aware of their responsibilities in safeguarding personal information.
Link Between The PoPi Act and Digital Marketing
The PoPI Act deems it unlawful for a marketer to market directly to a person unless they:
- have given prior consent
- are an existing customer
For this reason, direct marketers must always offer an opt-out option on all bulk SMSs and Emails. This regulation is important as it protects individuals from receiving unwanted marketing messages and protects their personal information from being shared without their consent.
As a digital marketing agency in South Africa, we at Starbright understand the importance of complying with the PoPI Act. If you are seeking digital marketing services that abide by the PoPI Act, give us a call today!