Telecommunications

Thursday, 16 February 2017 07:35

The Information Regulator's First Briefing on POPI

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Stay informed if you are processing personal information

The Information Regulator held its first public briefing on Monday, 13 February 2017 regarding the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) act, or POPIA, as it is now referred to by the Information Regulator. “Any public or private body or any other person that processes personal information, which includes collecting, receiving and/or storing any such personal information, needs to be aware of all POPI related developments,” says Alexia Christie, a Partner at Webber Wentzel’s Technology, Media, Telecommunications & Intellectual Property Practice. 

Webber Wentzel notes these key highlights of the briefing:

  • Commencement date: When asked about the long-awaited commencement date for POPI, the Chairperson stated that POPI could only come into full operation once her office had all its affairs in order.  She cautioned that this is a complicated and time consuming process which could take up to two years, but that the Information Regulator was doing everything in its power to accelerate this process and to be fully operational by the end of this year. 
  • Regulations: The process of drafting regulations under POPI is underway.
  • Benchmarking: The Information Regulator will undertake a benchmarking exercise to observe data protection practices in other jurisdictions and to adopt international best practice, including having regard to the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation.

“POPI compliance may require considerable time, effort and resources. Even a 12 month grace period may not be sufficient. Our advice is to take steps, now, to ensure you are POPI-ready,” Christie recommends.

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University (SU) is one of the oldest universities in South Africa. It boasts the highest weighted research output per full-time academic staff member of all South African universities and the second-highest number of scientists in South Africa who have been ranked by the National Research Foundation (NRF) – 429 in 2017. With 24 research chairs under the NRF’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi) and seven Centres of Excellence, the University is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, water research, sustainable energy, animal sciences, and mathematical biosciences, amongst others. SU also participates in various international academic networks. The institution has over 150 bilateral partners in 44 countries on 6 continents and more than 4 300 international students from more than 100 different nationalities.

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