26 June 2024

What are the Most Common POPIA Violations

Privacy Policy- Related 3

The most common violations of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in South Africa typically involve failures in data protection and compliance with the Act’s requirements. Here are some of the most frequent violations:

  1. Failure to Implement Adequate Security Measures:
    • Organisations often fail to put in place sufficient technical and organisational measures to protect personal information. This includes not renewing essential security software licenses, such as antivirus and intrusion detection systems, which can lead to unauthorised access and data breaches[1][3][17].
  2. Non-Compliance with Enforcement Notices:
    • Ignoring or failing to comply with enforcement notices issued by the Information Regulator is a significant violation. For example, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development was fined R5 million for not complying with an enforcement notice related to cybersecurity measures[1][3][17].
  3. Unlawful Processing of Personal Information:
    • Processing personal information without a legal basis, such as consent, or for purposes not specified in the privacy policy, is a common violation. This includes using personal data for direct marketing without obtaining proper consent from data subjects[2][6].
  4. Failure to Notify Data Subjects of Data Breaches:
    • Organisations are required to notify data subjects and the Information Regulator of any data breaches. Failure to do so is a violation of POPIA. For instance, the Department of Justice did not notify the Regulator of a significant data breach, which contributed to their fine[3][17].
  5. Inadequate Data Protection Policies and Procedures:
    • Not having comprehensive data protection policies and procedures in place, or failing to follow them, is a common issue. This includes not conducting regular risk assessments and not updating security measures in response to new risks[9][14].
  6. Obstructing the Regulator:
    • Hindering or obstructing the Information Regulator during investigations or providing false information under oath are serious offences under POPIA. These actions can lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment[1][7][16].
  7. Improper Handling of Account Numbers:
    • Violations related to the handling of account numbers, such as failing to comply with conditions for processing account numbers or unlawfully disclosing them, are also common. These offences carry significant penalties[7][16].

These violations highlight the importance of adhering to POPIA’s requirements to avoid substantial fines, legal action, and reputational damage. Organisations must ensure they have robust data protection measures and comply with enforcement notices to mitigate these risks.

[1] https://www.immuniweb.com/compliance/popia-compliance-privacy-cybersecurity/
[2] https://www.cov.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/2024/02/south-africa-information-regulator-issues-first-enforcement-notice-in-direct-marketing-complaint [3] https://www.moonstone.co.za/department-of-justice-fined-r5m-for-non-compliance-with-popia/
[4] https://www.webberwentzel.com/News/Pages/popia-what-employers-need-to-know.aspx
[5] https://usercentrics.com/knowledge-hub/south-africa-popia-protection-of-personal-information-act-overview/
[6] https://infotrust.com/articles/south-africas-protection-of-personal-information-act-popia/
[7] https://www.michalsons.com/focus-areas/privacy-and-data-protection/protection-of-personal-information-act-popia/popia-offences-penalties-and-administrative-fines [8] https://www.itweb.co.za/article/inforeg-slaps-transunion-with-enforcement-notice/wbrpO7g2K5nvDLZn
[9] https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/news/publications/2023/Sectors/CorporateInv/corporate-and-white-collar-investigations-alert-13-july-2023-protection-of-personal-information-act [10] https://secureprivacy.ai/blog/south-africa-popia-compliance
[11] https://www.michalsons.com/blog/popi-act-summary-in-plain-language/18618
[12] https://www.michalsons.com/blog/enforcement-notice-from-the-information-regulator-what-now/56517
[13] https://popia.co.za
[14] https://bowmanslaw.com/insights/south-africa-beware-information-regulator-issues-first-fine-of-zar-5-million-under-popia/
[15] https://www.popiact-compliance.co.za/popia-information/15-disputes-and-breaches
[16] https://www.popiact-compliance.co.za/popia-information/16-offences-penalties-and-administrative-fines
[17] https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=eb11e673-6422-494a-8963-e2fbf09cedfd
[18] https://inforegulator.org.za/training/wp/contact-us/
[19] https://www.dataguidance.com/notes/south-africa-data-protection-overview
[20] https://www.nadpa-rapdp.org/en/sa-enforcement-notice-dis-chem-contravention-popia