30 May 2022

Fundamental rights and technology

Submitted by SchoemanLaw Inc

by Celeste Snyders

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and his reasons for wanting to acquire it seems to drive home a principle that technology should benefit mankind at its very core. But legally, what does that mean?

The law of digital technology, also known as IT law, is an area of law that has substantially impacted other legal disciplines over the past three decades, both in academia and legal practice. This new and extensive data development, which includes blockchain technology and the increased use of algorithms, raises questions about the regulation of technological development as well as the rights and the protections citizens should have in an increasingly digital world.

Many issues in our complex system need to be considered. How South Africa chooses to amend its laws as we move into a new era of technology will determine our success in the global digital economy. South Africa has enacted the following legislation to regulate the use of technology in our lives. The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) was enacted to protect data subjects from security breaches, theft and discrimination. The Cybercrime Act was enacted to prevent unlawful access to computer systems or computer data storage, and the illegal interception of data as well as the processing of unlawfully intercepted data. Finally, Information and The Communications Technology Act was enacted to regulate the progress of electronic filing of documents with government agencies and statutory corporations and promote efficient delivery through reliable electronic records.

In conclusion, there are still many aspects of technology that need to be addressed by law to facilitate further innovation. Technology is developing faster than the body of case law, and, as a result of this legal uncertainty, citizens are not clear about how they are protected. There is, as always, hope in that there is room for interpretation and amendments.

Celesté Snyders

SchoemanLaw Inc - www.schoemanlaw.co.za

Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013

Act 4 of 2013, Section 2

Cybercrime Act 19 of 2020

Cybercrime Act 19 of 2020, Section 1

Information and Communications Technology Act 25 of 2002

Act 25 of 2002, Section 1

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