As local organisations wait for the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) to officially be enforced, Chief Executive, Mark Chirnside from local FinTech solutions company, ThisIsMe, believes many seem to be opting for a reactive approach when it comes to new requirements.
“Although organisations are aware of the challenges POPI will inevitably bring, many are not doing enough to prepare for the additional administrative burden, particularly when it comes to qualifying marketing lists to be fully POPI compliant.
“Current practice is that organisations will email, SMS and call people that haven’t opted in for this contact. Technically speaking, this is not permitted under POPI as requirements – in terms of how personal information is collected, used, stored, disseminated, modified or destroyed – highlight that recipients need to have actively opted-in to receive marketing communication,” explains Chirnside.
He emphasises that the current lack of urgency among organisations to implement measures to ensure POPI compliance is concerning.
“With an implementation lead period of a year, organisations should not be complacent in ensuring that they are ready for the stricter requirements enforced through the Bill.”
“Any party processing personal data is accountable for compliance and ensuring it is processed correctly and not shared or added to their marketing database without prior consent from the client. Understandably, this cannot be done overnight and should be a top priority,” Chirnside adds.
When it comes to implementing measures to ensure POPI compliance, Chirnside explains that organisations that use the ThisIsMe platform will immediately be given a quick and legitimate means to contact individual clients and ask for permission to access information, or communicate with them.
He says, “Only once a customer has approved the request for information or further contact via the online app, will the organisation be able to action the request. So, not only is the organisation benefitting from implementing a simpler and more streamlined verification and compliance process, but the customer can also knowingly transact and communicate with complete confidence that their information is adequately protected.”
While ThisIsMe assists organisations with preventing fraud, easily managing KYC and automating FICA and POPI compliance, the company also understands the importance of improving the customer experience.
Chirnside explains that – via ThisIsMe’s secure access to multiple trusted data sources, including the major banks – users are able to prove the identity of others, through real-time document validation, storage and sharing, allowing them complete control over their identity and personal documents.
“Essentially our technology has been developed to address the numerous challenges that organisations face around legislative requirements, when it comes to verifying and processing personal information, while also working towards greatly enhancing administrative processes.
“For consumers, the app solution provides complete control, peace of mind and convenience when sharing confidential information,” Chirnside says.
Considering the penalties that will be enforced on organisations found guilty of an offence in terms of the POPI Act, Chirnside believes businesses who are not proactive in their approach could end up paying a high price.
“Not only do organisations risk financial implications, but also reputational damage.
“Ultimately, with the technology available to leapfrog competitors in compliance and customer experience, there is no justifiable reason to not get on board with these new requirements,” Chirnside concludes.