The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has written to the President of South Africa requesting that he take the necessary steps to ensure that the personal information of South Africans receives proper legal protection.
On the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (27 September 2019), ISPA is calling for the proclamation of the commencement of all of the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act at the earliest opportunity.
The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 – which gives substance and effect to the right to privacy in the Bill of Rights – received Presidential Assent on 26 November 2013. Since that time the Office of the Information Regulator has been established and Parliament has approved final regulations promulgated under the act.
Notwithstanding which – almost six years later – the substantive provisions of the act are not in force and the protections which they offer are not available to South Africans.
ISPA is also requesting that the Office of the Information Regulator – the independent regulator responsible for enforcing the provisions of the act – receives the support and financing required to be an effective sword and shield for those seeking to enforce or protect their privacy rights.
As an association of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), ISPA is aware of how necessary these protections are, according to a statement from the organisation.
“On a daily basis we are confronted with the truth that data privacy is an important issue in an open, democratic and advancing society. It is even more important in a technologically transforming society and economy, where robust data privacy protection is essential as we embrace the opportunities and face the challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“As we work to bring more and more South Africans online, we simultaneously need to ensure that they and their personal information are secure,” the statement concludes.