Protection of Personal Information Bill
bombarded with unsolicited calls from call centres offering products that you have absolutely no need or want for is an alltoo-familiar feeling for most. Banks, insurers, cellphone service providers and gyms are common culprits and when this plays out, it often leads us to believe that our information is being handed out to anybody who wants it. This is about to change.
The advent of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is going to make it very difficult for direct marketers to get their hands on your personal information.
But before you let out a sigh of relief, bear in mind that the bill is also going to have a major impact on the way that companies do business – especially if that business holds a lot of personal information about customers.
“Since the POPI I Act was signed into law last t year by President Jacob Zuma, ma, companies of all shapes and sizes are trying to come e to terms with what this means ns for them and the personal data ata they hold,” says Daniella Kafouris, senior manager ger for data privacy and d POPI compliance at t Deloitte & Touche.
Some exceptions ns exist, but, according ng to KPMG’s Corporate te Law Advisory Prac- tice, every person n who collects, stores res and otherwise modifies or uses information is responsible onsible under POPI and must comply with the conditions required for the lawful processing of personal information.
Organisations have started waking up to the fact that they have been sleeping on veritable gold mines of value in the form of consumer data. Personal data is a valuable commodity in today’s era. And now, the protection of that data has become equally important.
The analysis of big data has become a key basis of competition, innovation and consumer surplus for companies, which is why the legalities of POPI have to be carefully considered.
Saint-Francis Tohlang of trends analysis company Fluxtrends comments: “It forces organisations to use personal data responsibly and safeg safeguard it. At the heart of this is our privacy in the face of more surveillance, privacy t threats and growing
distrust.” THE BURDEN OF COMPLIANCE As POPI is possib possibly among the most comprehensive pieces of privacy legislatio legislation in the world, the provisi provisions make it difficult to fu fully understand the imp implications.
Tohlang says that e ethical data management will be the result. “Investing in the infrastructure, technology and governance to manage data d in a professional and ethical ethic manner will be a future trend tre that gains more traction.
“Perhaps the true effects of POPI will most affect those in the business of direct marketing. Currently, direct marketers may collect, contact, retain and continue to share that personal information until such a point as a consumer ‘opts out’. This is the present situation under the Consumer Protection Act. Under POPI legislation, direct marketers will have to obtain permission.” FROM DIRECT MARKETING TO SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Tohlang says that we will see a significant investment and drive from organisations to engage consumers in social media marketing as a means to overcome the significant constraints POPI imposes on other channels of direct marketing such as emails, SMS and phone calls.
“Marketers and companies alike will now look to further the trend of speaking to their consumers through narratives that appeal to their lifestyles and needs.”
He says that creating conversations within communities is what will ultimately become the way in which marketing takes shape. Marketers would also need to invest in total rewards schemes and value propositions to continually engage consumers and convince them to want to stay in touch.
To effectively manage personal information and comply with POPI, Kafouris says that organisations must invest in establishing the required data management capabilities. “While the requirements of POPI seem onerous, they also represent good business practice. If implemented correctly, complying with POPI has the potential to generate tremendous business value.”