PoPI: Good fences make good neighbours

wallLast year, Time magazine discussed the illusion of privacy in a digital age.(Tweet this)  Technology, ranging from our PC’s and tablets, to smartphones and surveillance cameras is capturing our every move and, in many cases, almost our every thought.

The Big Data analytics movement seeks to leverage this data for commercial purposes – to understand what we are thinking, what we want to buy, or how we may be tempted to spend more, or to spend what we have in a different place or through a different channel as discussed in last week’s discussion around big data governance and Target

To quote the Time article – “Privacy is mostly an illusion.” Click to tweet

And yet, even as government steps up its invasions of privacy through aggressive surveillance, they are simultaneously seeking to protect our privacy through legislating how personal data should be collected, stored, accessed and used.

The South African Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Bill, for example, has been signed in to law in November 2013. Non-compliance promises severe penalties ( ranging from fines to up to ten years imprisonment) – although companies will have some time to comply.

It is important to understand that the Popi Act goes beyond data security to include elements such as information quality.

Popi can be a good starting point for a data governance program. Tweet this

Robert Frost’s famous poem, Mending Wall, discusses the importance of boundaries in maintaining relationships.

Several key elements of boundary related metadata should be documented in order to ensure compliance with Popi.

These include:

  •        Where is personal data stored?
  •        Who has access to it?
  •        For what purpose is it used?
  •        Is the quality sufficient?
  •        Who is responsible for it?

If these questions are answered and documented in a data governance platform you will have kick started your data governance program whilst ensuring that the key policies related to PoPI have been complied with in your environment.

Join the us at the CIO Forum for a discussion on the implications of PoPI in Cape Town on the 24th April.Tweet this

For more information, and to register, click here.

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