In South Africa laws to protect and effectively manage personal data is nothing new. We are all aware of the ongoing implications and impact of POPI, the protection of personal information legislation that has been introduced to safeguard the interests of end users, their privacy and to help combat fraud and cybercrime.
These issues have once again come under the spotlight, this time in Europe where the European Parliament has reportedly voted on General Data Protection Regulation – data protection laws that will totally transform how data is stored, deleted, transmitted and utilised.
As is the case in South Africa, there are stringent penalties for companies that transgress similar legislation and fail to comply with the basics of the legislation and a lax attitude to the protection of people’s data.
“One thing is for certain, the management of personal data in Europe will never be the same again,” says Danie Marais, founder of the software division within Redstor. “It is a good thing because it follows the global trend of ensuring responsibility and compliance when it comes to data. In the digital lifestyle data is everything, it is the modern currency, so it makes sense to force businesses to toe the line and regulate their own processes and procedures.”
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Yes, it means industry regulators and lawmakers understand the severity of non-regulated, unchecked and unmonitored data application, storage and use. Yes, it also means that authorities are catching up to the requirements of the market, but, perhaps most significantly there is a linkup between established and emerging markets in terms of what legislation works, when and how.
This bodes well for tech companies, for service providers and, ultimately, the consumer.
In a world plagued with daily cyber threats, and the scourge of cyber-crime, personal identity theft and other means of fraud, the introduction of progressive laws that thrust markets forward in terms of privacy and security is a step in the right direction.