Data Protection and Privacy

Data protection and privacy issues impact on all business and industry sectors not only‭ ‬in South Africa, but across the globe. Compliance with the laws and protecting‭ ‬individuals’ privacy is not just a legal issue. Failure to respect people’s privacy or ensure‭ ‬security of their data can severely damage a company’s brand and influence consumer‭ ‬buying decisions.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Navigating the myriad complexities around data protection and privacy is best done by experts properly equipped to give legal advice that is clear, accurate and future-focused. While the Protection of Personal Information Act (the POPI Act or POPIA) is designed to bring an end to the uncertainty regarding the legal use and processing of personal information, it is not yet in full effect and expert guidance will be needed by small and big entities alike, in properly assimilating the details of the Act and all the implications contained therein.

POPIA states that, “A responsible party must secure the integrity and confidentiality of personal information in its possession or under its control by taking appropriate, reasonable technical and organisational measures.” When this legislation is improperly applied or interpreted, the way is laid open for unnecessarily contentious situations, given the increasing need for personal information to be received, reviewed and processed in a manner that respects both the law and the rights of individuals and corporations alike to protect their data

Whether it relates to customers, employees, strategic business partners or confidential ‬business information, navigating the requirements relating to the life cycle of collection, ‬use, disclosure and sharing is becoming more challenging. Werksmans has a deep‭ ‬understanding of these complex rules from advising clients on international or national‭ ‬data issues around the globe.‬‬‬‬

What we can do:

  • Advising on general regulatory compliance, data transfers, subject access‭ ‬requests, employee monitoring and surveillance, cyber security, data breaches,‭ ‬data retention and global data compliance;‬
  • Together with our professional support lawyers, we are also involved in the‭ ‬thought leadership aspects of data protection and privacy. This has resulted in‭ ‬published, webinars and strategic advice to clients;‬
  • Werksmans aims to offer accurate, clear, pragmatic and business focussed legal‭ ‬advice;
  • Dealing with international transfers of personal data, including through the use of‭ ‬the European Commission’s approved Model Contract Clauses;‬‬
  • Protecting data in the cloud;
  • Big Data;
  • Online profiling, cookies and marketing;
  • Data sharing and exploitation, including in regulated industries or the healthcare‭ ‬sector;‬‬
  • Responding to queries and investigations by the Information Regulator’s office;
  • Dealing with data security breaches;
  • Compliance strategies and projects, including data retention obligations;
  • Drafting privacy policies, layered notices, consents and terms and conditions. ‭‬Compliance with data protection and other laws when considering interception,‭ ‬surveillance and monitoring;‬‬‬‬
  • Information governance and data management, including internal policies and‭ ‬employment documentation;
  • Advising on special considerations with dealing with sensitive personal data such‭ ‬as health data, or the personal data of children;‬‬
  • Dealing with ‬access requests;
  • Drafting and negotiating data processing agreements;
  • Data protection aspects of e-commerce, IT/outsourcing/corporate transactions‭ ‬and litigation; and
  • Bespoke training on data protection matters.

Data has evolved to become the lifeblood of global trade. In particular, in the digital economy, the commercial value attached to data has increased dramatically as‭ businesses try to use data to predict and respond to their customers in ways that were‭ ‬not previously possible. ‬‬‬‬

It is imperative for companies to focus on strategically maximising data value while minimising legal and reputational risk.

Data is a core asset driving future economic growth and‭ ‬efficiencies, protecting that data and addressing the multifaceted regulatory controls on‭ ‬its use, access and sharing have become vital issues that impact virtually every organisation. ‬‬‬‬

Apart from providing much sought-after data protection advice, Werksmans regularly publishes legal briefs giving expert opinion on legal matters in the data protection arena. Our team of data protection lawyers is ready to assist the client with timely, succinct, practical advice, creating absolute clarity and assurance in a field many corporations and entities still find challenging.

Download our latest POPIA booklet.

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