POPIA Compliance- The Consumer Perspective

With the POPIA compliance deadline around the corner, businesses in South Africa are gearing up to ensure that they comply with all the regulations around the protection of your personal data. But, do South Africans really understand the rights and regulations around the use of their personal data?

With regards to our consumer data, a privacy paradox exists. We freely hand over our personal information on social media platforms and in exchange for purchasing goods and services online, however, from a standard perception, consumers perceive their data privacy as important. With the personal value we place on our personal data, commercial interest has placed the same value. Posting fragments of your daily activities, moods and interests may seem insignificant, but this information on your economical and psychological choices help markets relate to you as a consumer making it easier to influence your buying decision.

In a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group estimated the economical value of personal data markets in Europe at an expected value of 8 % or European GDP in 2020. Lieshout, of Radboud University explains the metaphor of personal data as “oil”. Generally, the understanding of value around oil is significant and associating personal data to be as valuable a oil as a commodity is essential. What makes your personal data so valuable?

A general feature of your personal data is that it can be sold over and over again without loss of its intrinsic value.

Since your personal data is so valuable, it is important to understand the regulations surrounding its protection:

Consumers will benefit from POPI’s requirements that their personal information must be protected and that it can only be collected or handled where there is a lawful justification for doing so.

POPI gives consumers specific rights in respect of organisations handling their personal information and it gives consumers greater control over their personal information. Consumers are informed about what personal information is collected, by who and why so that consumers are able to make informed decisions.

It is essential to remain vigilant in how you share your data and with whom you share it.

To learn more about the POPIA Act visit https://popia.co.za/

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