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There has been a substantial increase in the use of the Internet across the African continent, aided by ongoing investment into local digital infrastructure, reduction in the associated costs, and improved user access. This has allowed both individuals, and private and public entities, the ability to access, collect, process and/or disseminate personal data more easily, which has spurred a number of African countries to enact comprehensive data protection laws and establish data protection authorities. There is also a growing perception among African countries that there is a need to protect their citizen’s personal data, to regulate how public and private entities use personal data, and to establish data protection authorities tasked with enforcing these laws.

While countries like Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa now have comprehensive data protection laws, which share some elements found in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), many of the proposed data protection laws have specific rules that are different from those in other countries in Africa. Consequently, technology companies conducting business in Africa will be required to keep abreast of the evolving regulatory landscape as it relates to data protection on the continent.

Continue Reading Tech Regulation in Africa: Recently Enacted Data Protection Laws

South Africa’s Information Regulator (the “Regulator”) issued, on June 22, 2021, a Guidance Note on Exemptions from the Conditions for Lawful Processing of Personal Information (“Guidance Note”), arising under sections 37 and 38 of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”).  The purpose of the Guidance Note is to provide guidance to “responsible parties” who: (i) intend to apply for an exemption from one or more of the eight conditions for the lawful processing of personal information, as prescribed by POPIA (section 37 of POPIA), or (ii) may automatically be exempt from some of these conditions where the processing occurs in the performance of a “relevant function” (section 38 of POPIA).  In a media statement, also issued on June 22, 2021, the Regulator confirmed that the June 20, 2021 deadline for responsible parties to register their Information Officers (“IOs”) and Deputy Information Officers (“DIOs”) was postponed indefinitely.
Continue Reading South Africa: Guidance on POPIA Exemptions and Registration of Information Officers

In Episode 12 of our Inside Privacy Audiocast, together with special guest Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, we discussed the Information Regulator’s mandate and the implementation of data protection legislation in South Africa.  Now, with less than a month to go before South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPIA”) takes full effect on July 1, 2021, it is critical for organizations operating in South Africa to ensure that they are ready, if and when the Information Regulator comes knocking.

It is only when organizations start their POPIA journey that they realize just how wide the POPIA net is cast, and that very few businesses fall outside of its reach.  The road to POPIA compliance should be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.  While implementing and maintaining an effective POPIA compliance program will take continued effort and resources well beyond the July 1, 2021 go-live date, here we outline five steps to which companies subject to POPIA should give their attention in the short term.

Continue Reading Final Countdown to POPIA Compliance: Five Critical Steps to Take Before July 1st, 2021

On June 22, 2020, the South African President announced that certain provisions of POPIA would take effect on July 1, provisions which most regard as essential to the statute, such as those imposing conditions on the lawful processing of personal information, procedures for handling complaints, and general enforcement provisions. Only days later, the South African