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Protection of Personal Information Bill of 2009 (POPI)

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Protection of Personal Information Bill of 2009 (POPI)

22nd March 2013

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The POPI Bill has been referred to the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration. Once approved by the NCOP, it will be signed into law. It is anticipated that this process could take anything from one to six months. The POPI Bill currently provides for a one-year grace period, once it is signed into law, before its provisions become effective.

In terms of the Constitution all persons have the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have your person or home searched or the privacy of your communications infringed. Legislators intend that the POPI Bill will, among other things, give effect to a person's right to privacy by introducing measures aimed at protecting the privacy of personal information collected and processed by organisations and businesses.

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The POPI Bill is of particular importance to insurance companies (as "responsible parties," defined in the POPI Bill) because it inter alia prohibits the processing of "special personal information" (as defined in the POPI Bill) and the sharing of personal information between insurers, and in particular, where personal information is shared across borders. The processing of special personal information and the cross-border sharing of personal information would, however, be permitted under certain conditions.

Webber Wentzel frequently distributes snapshots containing analyses of the POPI Bill. To read these, click here.

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