The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is South Africa’s data protection law. In a world where protection of personal information is mandated, protecting your information, and certainly, those of your clients is a priority.

What is POPIA?
POPIA stands for the Protection of Personal Information Act and is a South African data privacy and data protection law that was passed in 2013.

According to Michalsons, the purpose of POPIA is to protect people from harm by protecting their personal information. It stops malicious acts like money and identities being stolen and generally protects people’s privacy, which is a fundamental human right. To achieve this, the POPIA sets conditions for when it is lawful for someone to process someone else’s personal information.

What constitutes personal information?
A few examples of personal information include:
• ID or passports
• personal bank account numbers
• home, work or personal phone numbers
• physical addresses
• financial information
• employment and salary history

Is GreenForm POPIA compliant?
Meniko processes personal information through GreenForm on behalf of our clients during the customer verification process. Our GreenForm mobile solution, a web-based mobile forms capture solution which digitalises paper-based business processes, has features that require the use and handling of people’s personal information. There’s an ID verification feature that authenticates your RSA identity number and automatically populates the form with your personal information.

Currently. Meniko is part of the Michalsons Compliance Programme | Data Protection and holds the Michalsons POPIA Ready Seal which is recognised in South Africa by consumers, businesses, associations, and regulators as demonstrating data privacy best practices. It is a way to show that an organisation is ready for POPIA.

According to Michalsons, an organisation displaying the POPIA Ready Seal:
• takes privacy seriously
• respects the privacy of data subjects
• are open about how they process personal information
• have committed to do what is reasonably practicable to protect personal information
• is going through the Michalsons POPI Compliance Programme.

Penalties for non-compliance
Failure to comply with POPIA can result in:
• suffering reputational damage
• losing customers (and employees) and failing to attract new ones
• paying out millions in damages to a civil class action
• a fine of up to R10 million or up to 10 years in jail

Your personal information is very important and represents you and your privacy and as such, we need the guidance of an act like POPIA to protect the interests of our clients. This makes it clear why it’s imperative for this information to be safeguarded. So, when POPIA sets out the conditions for the lawful processing of personal information, it’s setting out the conditions for the lawful management of documents and records.

Original article from Michalsons.
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