Every one of South Africa’s over 80-million active cellphone numbers is considered personal information.
This is according to the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPI) and perhaps explains why South Africa’s wireless application service providers (WASPs) take POPI compliance so seriously.
Although certain consumer protection sections of the Act dealing with the establishment of a national privacy regulator, for example, have yet to come into effect, the wireless companies that daily interact with millions of consumers’ cellphone numbers (or MSISDNs – Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Numbers) already operate according to a defined code that places a premium on consumer privacy.
Every WASP that provides mobile content and applications requested by the customers of South Africa’s cellular network operators must abide by the enforceable Code of Conduct of the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA). WASPA currently has in excess of 300 members.
“WASPA’s Code has been continually-refined over the past 11 years to reflect a changing technological, regulatory and legislative landscape. It is today a powerful instrument that has placed consumer protection and consumer privacy at its centre long before legislation mandated corporate attention to these twin ideals,” says Ilonka Badenhorst, GM of WASP.
Examples where the WASPA Code of Conduct is directly based on POPI include the clauses relating to the rights of consumers in relation to direct marketing activities.
In addition to POPI, WASPA’s Code of Conduct Committee has also ensured that the Code is aligned with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). This means that members who align their activities with the WASPA code will be in full compliance with the applicable legislation.