Protection of Personal Information :: Business Prepared-ness

POPI-COMPLIANCE.. doesn’t start June.. It’s already here.

Data compliance or at the very least :: Respect of your clients Privacy, perhaps even the Old Laws: ‘Do unto Others as you want them to do unto you’ should be second nature in business but it’s not and if you’re in business… You need to change the status quo!

What is POPI?

Protection of Personal information

POPI

Protection of your clients information has and always will be a profoundly important responsibility. It should be standard practice to maintain highest confidentiality when dealing with, distributing or storing anyone else’s information.

Last year during a consulting project which involved a practitioner working from their ‘home-office’, the subject of client confidentiality was raised as it is always very high on the agenda in business for me. Coming from an exclusive jewellery background where clients belongings are highly valuable, irrespective of the financial value attached.

Being vigilant, diligent and extremely careful with clients jewellery, stones & watches is of utmost importance. So for me, it’s become instinctive and inherent in my business practice throughout my career and holds today, that any information/belongings I encounter which are not mine are treated with equal respect, value and cared for with utmost sensitivity, as I do my own. 

Trusting a practitioner with personal information is always a risk, regardless of the size of the company, history or values they may uphold because in today’s world we never know who else has access to that information. Now with POPI Compliance businesses will be forced to train staff to be focused on Protection of Personal Information rather than readily discarding, disregarding or revealing it.

Legal Question: Case Scenario

Legally I would like to know what is the financial cost to a practitioner who has, for example, financial information which is loosely available in his home/office which is then removed by / copied by an employee/tradesman/anyone with access and used unethically?

  • What can the client do once they’ve discovered the source of the Privacy leak?
  • How does this affect the practitioner?
  • How does this affect their other clients?

Privacy Breach :: Case Scenario   **This is a real situation**

A woman’s I.D. is stolen. Not the actual Book, Just the details, along with her Bank statement. The I.D. is copied with photos etc and used to open bank accounts, credit cards and take out loans. The owner of the I.D. is now liable for the debt created on her name by a thief.

She is now FICA’d and cannot take a loan, open accounts, get a home loan without serious frustrations and additional costs. Aside from the stress, the financial destruction is obvious.

POPI -Compliance ::

The place the information was stolen from is liable for the debt, stress and mismanagement of that information, if they were responsible for the information at the time. The legal onus is on the party responsible for your personal information in keeping it safe.

Question :: For POPI-Compliance.co.za

 What is the best way for businesses to avoid this situation?

POPI – Compliance – Essential Trust Building with clients

Businesses who are slap-dash or risky with clients information or in the unfortunate event of it being mislaid, you have a duty and responsibility to your clients and will owe them an explanation even Now should there be any discrepancies or misuse of their information.

Be prepared because it could happen to you…

and because the Integrity and Ethics with which your run your business is a reflection of you, your staff and company as a whole.

 

Questions your clients, employees and associated business could ask:: Are you ready with the answers?:

  • Where is my information stored, how is it stored or kept safe?
  • Who has access to it and how is it used?
  • What guarantees are there that my information will not be abused?

During business consultation one often covers areas of business where one may not know all the answers (which is why I love what I do) so I went in search of the actual Laws regarding clients information rather than just the ethical standing I own regarding the Morals & Values of treating My information as protectively as you’d treat your own. I didn’t have to look far to find more about the future of Protection of Personal Information and how businesses can go about it without stopping their entire business function.

Research, knowing the right people and asking the right questions has found me at POPI-compliance.co.za.  An exciting development in the new world of technology is the Data that we are generating, how it’s stored and how it’s used, being used or could potentially be used. This website is promising to provide Businesses in South Africa with a

One-Stop-POPI-Compliance shop

with all the materials required to ensure your business seamlessly integrates POPI Compliance into its day.

To place the onus on Protection and rebuilding lost Trust between customer and business, the POPI compliance act will ensure that Your information, Your children’s, clients, friends and families information will all be protected.

The thing about Protection of Personal information is that regardless of whether you’re sitting in a corporate top management office or work as a receptionist in the local veterinary office you are responsible for others data,  as well as the potential victim of data fraud. So it’s not a subject that should be shrugged or taken lightly on any level. The positive aspects of the new legislation are that we are protecting one another.

Keeping ourselves within our own boundaries by respecting the levels of privacy we wish to maintain as our personal boundaries and not having them shattered by irresponsible, negligent or even ‘forgetful’ people.

What I Think :: For Businesses

By following the rule of thumb on becoming Popi Compliant you show your customers that the most important part of your business really is Them!

What they share with you, needs to stay with You and never be shared. Not ever.

The respect you gain from a client in proving unequivocally that you care so much that you would go to the lengths of ensuring POPI – Compliance prior to it becoming a legislation, to my mind, shows a company that is innovative, has an understanding of whats important to their clients whilst also getting your business into gear for something that is here to stay, will grow to become an integrated part of your businesses every day and an increasingly important way to win business over the competition.

What I Think :: For You

Be vigilant.

Ask Questions of suppliers. If you’re reading this and have concerns, send the links to your suppliers, contractors, practitioners. The more informed businesses are as to the risks of your personal information being abused and how easy it is for them to train both their staff and themselves in keeping Your information safe, the sooner we will all be feeling more secure and safe every day.

Should you have any Popi related questions, comments or answers, please leave your thoughts below.
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Hill says:

    Talking about POPI compliance is misleading as it is an impossible state to achieve. Respecting individual rights by processing information in accordance with the conditions for lawfully processing personal information is the objective.

    Its more important to be prepared for non-compliance, which is a certainty!

    Like

    1. Blake S says:

      Thank You Peter for your thoughts. You say Non-compliance is a certainty so the preparedness should be on the negative rather than on the positive?
      i.e. be prepared for a leak?

      Like

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