Update on Protection of Personal Information (‘POPI’) Act

On Friday, 08 September 2017, the Information Regulator published draft regulations in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (‘POPI’). They have very important and have significant implications for direct marketers.

Currently, South African law allows marketers to approach customers via electronic communication to market their goods and services as long as customers are given the opportunity to unsubscribe. When POPI comes into effect (best guess that will be sometime early in next year after which marketers will have a year to become compliant) that will change.

When approaching a customer who has not received direct marketing before the customer must first be approached to obtain their consent. The Information Regulator was given the power to determine what this consent would look like which it has now done. You can find it here:  https://novcon.co.za/2017/09/10/popi-regulations-highlights-far/

The prescribed consent is concerning for several reasons. It is two pages long, in legalese and requires a signature. Even though it is supposed to apply to electronic marketing, it seems that the Regulator failed to take digital marketing into account. Luckily, the regulations are still in draft form and we have until 7 November 2017 to comment. The IAB will comment, but this is one of those times when the more voices are heard, the better.

BY: ELIZABETH DE STADLER
IAB REGULATORY AFFAIRS COUNCIL