Protection of personal information law now in effect

Stormme Hobson, director at Hobson Legal Consulting, says the Protection of Personal Information Act has never been more important.

Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - With personal information becoming a hot commodity, it's being argued that the Protection of Personal information Act (POPI) has arrived just in time.

The act came into full effect on Thursday and is aimed at protecting the personal information of citizens and ensuring that organisations are held accountable when they breach the legislation.

So, what does POPI mean for the ordinary citizen?

Stormme Hobson, director at Hobson Legal Consulting, said the Protection of Personal Information Act had never been more important and people needed to start asking the relevant questions as to where their information was being used.

And this includes unsolicited marketing or sharing something with someone in confidence. Hobson said South Africans could look forward to controlling how people use their information.

"I don't think it's going to happen overnight but think people need to start to tighten up on how many things they’re sending, as to why people may be they're contacting them. As soon as people start complaining and using their rights and it becomes more known and active I think you'll see companies changing their behaviour," she said.

The act will give effect to the constitutional right to privacy by safeguarding personal information.

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