Public urged to weigh in on how personal info stored, processed

People getting unsolicited calls, messages and emails from direct marketing companies need to know there is legislation to safeguard their data.

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CAPE TOWN - South Africa's Information Regulator says it'll be doing its part to raise awareness around the law regulating how personal information is stored and processed.

The regulator has been set up to monitor and enforce compliance of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) which is expected to come into operation in its entirety next year.

The act lays down protection against unwanted electronic marketing or spam.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday, the regulator's chairperson Pansy Tlakula explained that people getting unsolicited calls, messages and emails from direct marketing companies need to know there is legislation to safeguard their data.

Companies are not allowed to process personal information for direct marketing purposes without consent.

It is the role of the regulator to educate the public and to field complaints whenever there's a breach of privacy.

The public has until 7 November to comment on draft regulations on how the law will be implemented.

The five-member regulatory body was set up in December, but it's not fully operational yet.

The regulator has to get approvals for its 'organisational structure' before it starts hiring staff.