The media and communications industry is one of the industries that will be most affected by this legislation. This is because the industry uses its clients' information to achieve marketing and communication objectives.
It has been especially so in the current digital age. The media and communication industry's main objectives is to convey information / messages about businesses, as well as individuals that are affiliated with communications companies.
These companies share information through television and radio broadcasting, as well as other publishing platforms for advertising and marketing purposes.
The newly implemented POPI objectives include regulating how companies process consumer personal information, how they get hold of that information and how they use it for their businesses.
The act is more likely to impact this industry positively than it would negatively. When a company complies with the POPI regulations, they stand a good chance of protecting themselves against any legal penalties should they experience a data breach.
The implementation of the POPI will most definitely change how we operate in the communications industry. The act strongly states that there will be more regulations put in place as to how we process client information and share it without compromising our clients' safety or personal information.
The sector uses people's personal data for many reasons. Most communications companies buy and sell client data and share this with various organisations for different reasons.
Marketers buy data to tailor their marketing efforts to the right people, PR people subscribe to databases that have contact details of all journalists and call centre companies buy people's data to sell them products.
This makes the communication sector an information sector that does not operate without people's personal data. For this reason, communications companies are required to have protective measures in place, which will enable them to safeguard valuable information.
Communications firms now need to affiliate themselves with cybersecurity companies, such as LAWTrust; having excellent cybersecurity has proven to be beneficial to being POPI compliant as a company.
The communications industry deals with sensitive information on websites, social media and emails, as well as databases. Ensuring that we have tight cybersecurity policies in place to protect ourselves from data breach, while complying with POPI regulations, goes a long way.
POPI further states that companies that fail to comply with its requirements are likely to face penalties of up to R10 million or possible jail time; therefore, it is not an option for those companies to avoid compliance.
Additionally, not having proper cybersecurity measures in place companies may suffer a financial knock as a result of these penalties. They will have to start afresh in restoring the company's reputation, as well as ensuring their clients that their information is protected.
Considering the economic climate, it is not worth risking a company's reputation by failing to comply with the POPI. Apart from jail time and fines as repercussions, no potential client would want to be affiliated with an organisation that does not adhere to regulations.
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