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POPI Compliance - What Is It?

POPI stands for Protection of Personal Information, which is Act 4 of 2013, this area of law is also known as data protection or data privacy.

What is personal information?

Personal Information refers to information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person, and when it is applicable, an identifiable, existing juristic person. So if you have information about human beings or companies, it will be personal information.

The purpose of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act 4 of 2013 is:

➢ to ensure that all South African institutions conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing and sharing another entity's personal information by holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise your personal information in any way;

➢ to introduce certain conditions so as to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information and

➢ to provide for the establishment of an Information Regulator to exercise certain powers and to perform certain duties and functions in terms of this act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act and

What is POPI trying to achieve?

POPI gives effect to the right to privacy which is guaranteed by the Constitution of South Africa. It is important, however, to realise that POPI does not aim to stem the free flow of information. It’s aim is to encourage such flows, but in secure and responsible manner, finding a balance with other constitutional values.

Why is POPI important?

It is important because personal information is crucial for doing business. If someone is alleged to be in breach of the POPI Act, a complaint may be submitted to the Information Regulator. Breaching POPI could also result in heavy fines and penalties and it could also ruin your reputation.

How do you comply with the Popi Act?

Five easy steps to POPI compliance:

  • o Appoint or reassess the role of the information officer.

  • o Create awareness.

  • o Personal information impact assessment.

  • o Develop a compliance framework, which can include processes and policies.

  • o Implementation.

For any queries regarding the above or assistance on contracts or any other commercial needs please contact Myers Attorneys on 011 346 2422 or

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