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The ABC of GDPR for SA

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SA companies doing business with EU customers need to consider making changes to their data privacy and oversight processes to conform to new regulations being implemented next year.

South African companies doing business with European Union (EU) customers need to consider making changes to their data privacy, technology and oversight processes in the wake of new privacy rules. On 25 May 2018 new privacy rules formed by the EU will be implemented. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

The new rules will apply to the ‘processing’ of ‘personal data’ by “controllers” and “processors” based in the EU, as well as those located outside of the EU if they provide services and goods to EU customers. The GDPR will also apply to all organisations processing and holding personal data of subjects residing within the EU.

“The GDPR will impact many South African and other organisations across the African continent,” Busisiwe Mathe, Risk Assurance Cyber and Privacy leader, PwC Southern Africa says. “Businesses that do not comply with the GDPR face a potential of up to 4% fine of global revenues, increasing the need for organisations to plan for and implement necessary changes to demonstrate good in the eyes of individuals and regulators.”

South African organisations are awaiting the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). The POPIA is likely to be fully enacted in South Africa in early 2019 and comments on POPIA draft regulations closed on 7 November 2017.

Once POPIA is fully enacted, responsible parties and operators in South Africa, processing personal information will have to comply with POPIA as well as potentially having to comply with the GDPR. The GDPR was introduced by the EU more than a year ago and organisations have been given less than two years to comply with them.

POPIA is South Africa’s first piece of comprehensive data protection legislation. It aims to give effect to the constitutional right to privacy by introducing measures whereby personal information processed by organisations is fair, responsible and conducted in a secure manner.

Mathe adds: “Compliance with POPIA will be a challenge for many organisations. The POPIA compliance journey will require organisations to consider many features within their organisation and strategic vision.” The GDPR and POPIA have many commonalities but also a number of differences, one of the most significant being that POPIA includes “juristic” (business) entities in the definition of personal information – this will significantly increase the scope of personal information and provide additional challenges to comply with POPIA.

“After May next year, EU companies that deal with SA can only do so if POPIA is in place or if the SA companies can satisfy their EU partner that they have adequate rules and policies in place regarding data protection.”

Rav Hayer, Financial Services GDPR Lead, PwC UK adds: “Organisations will have to provide clarity on how customer data is collected and stored. Any breaches of data must be communicated within 72 hours to the responsible regulator, wherever the breech occurred and the subjects reside. ”

The GDPR penalties can be up to 4% of an organisation’s global annual turnover whereas POPIA has a maximum R10 million fine or time behind bars.  GDPR penalties are much higher than POPIA. The GDPR penalties stand to hurt companies more financially than POPIA if they ignore them. The reputational damage and loss of customer trust are however important business imperatives to comply with POPIA regardless of the significantly lower fines.

In a recent survey conducted by PwC, nearly all of the respondents (92%) considered compliance with the GDPR a top priority on their data-privacy and security agenda in 2017 – with over half of respondents saying it is “the” top priority and 38% saying it is “among” top priorities. The GDPR Preparedness Pulse Survey examines preparedness and why companies are willing to spend $1 million or more on GDPR readiness plans.

PwC surveyed 300 Chief Privacy Officer, Chief Information Officers, General Counsels, Chief Compliance Officers, and CEOs in US, UK, and Japanese companies about their GDPR programmes.

Only 8% of UK companies have finished all their preparations compared to 22% of US companies. “This is likely to be because the US‘s data privacy regulation is currently a lot more stringent than the UK. In the past the ICO hasn’t been as firm as US regulators as our data privacy law isn’t currently enforceable,” Hayer adds.

While many organisations have already begun this process with a range of compliance efforts, many are still in the assessment phase. But despite their status in preparing to comply with the new regulations, most US Companies are already planning to invest in GDPR. According to survey respondents, over three in four (77%) companies plan to allocate $1 million or more on GDPR readiness and compliance efforts – with 68% saying they will invest between $1 million and $10 million and 9% expecting to spend over $10 million to address GDPR obligations.

Survey results also found that information security enhancement is a top GDPR initiative. While much of the discussion has focused on the law’s privacy-centric requirements, information-security obligations figure prominently in GDPR plans of US companies. Among the 71% who have begun GDPR preparation, the most-cited initiatives in flight are information security, privacy policies, GDPR gap assessment and data discovery.

What should you focus on if you haven’t started your GDPR programme?

PwC found that 5% of UK companies have not started preparing for the GDPR. With less than seven (7) months until the compliance deadline, these organisations risk regulator fines, litigation costs, and lost contract opportunities.

The biggest risk for organisations is likely to be third parties, so it is essential that organisations check that their third party contracts are GDPR compliant, Hayer comments.

How much can organisations expect to spend on their GDPR programme?

Of those companies that have completed their GDPR programme, 40% of US, UK and Japan reported spending more than $10 million. The pattern of increased spending was consistent regardless of company size.

Driving competitor advantage – The GDPR and investor relations

The survey found that some companies see their GDPR programs as a potential differentiator in the market. Among companies who believe they have finished their GDPR programmes, 38% have engaged their investor relations departments, an indicator that they hope to highlight early compliance to help drive competitive advantage.  These companies should also look to extend this confidence out to their customers to strengthen customer trust in their business and also test their position in advance of the GDPR going live.

“The ‘compliance journey’ involves innumerable challenges and the task is complicated. Entities may find that they have difficult choices to make about their priorities moving forward. Making changes to ensure compliance with the GDPR will require considerable resource investments and lots of planning,” concludes Hayer.

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Small South African town goes smartphone-only

Vodacom partners with farming business to upgrade all residents of Wakkerstroom from 2G devices to smartphones

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All residents of the small town of Wakkerstroom, which straddles Mpumalanga and kwaZulu-Natal provinces, have had their 2G feature phones upgraded to 3G devices.

The initiative is a result of Vodacom partnering with BPG Langfontein, a farming business that employs the majority of the people living in Wakkerstroom. It is now the first smartphone-only town in South Africa. This is a model the network provider says it hopes to replicate across the country as part of its mission to connect people who live in deep rural areas and are still dependent on 2G networks.

Wakkerstroom, is the second oldest town in Mpumalanga province, on the KwaZulu-Natal border, 27 km east of Volksrust and 56 km south-east of Amersfoort.  

“There are growing expectations for big corporates the size of Vodacom to serve a social purpose, and for us to use our resources and core capabilities to make a significant contribution in transforming the lives of ordinary people,” says Zakhele Jiyane, Managing Executive for Vodacom Mpumalanga. “We are helping to remove communication barriers, so that citizens in the area can be part of the digital revolution and reap the associated benefits. By moving the more than 1400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free much needed spectrum and this spectrum can be re-farmed to provide for faster networks such as 3G and 4G.

“Crucially, the move opens a new world of connectivity for farm workers in Wakkerstroom. As a result, most people in the area will now be able to use the Vodacom network to connect on the net and access online government services, eHealth services such as Mum&Baby and eCommerce. Learners can now surf the internet for the first time and access Vodacom’s eSchool free of charge and those who are actively looking for jobs can start using their smartphones and tablets to apply for jobs over the internet on Vodacom’s zero-rated career sites. This will be key for driving growth to the benefit of people living in this area.”

Vodacom has already deployed 4G base stations in Wakkestroom as part of this initiative.

For the next phase of this project, says Vodacom, it is going to educate the farm workers about data and the benefits of the Internet. Vodacom will also look at various ways in which it can help empower members of this community in areas of education, gender-based violence and health.

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10 more African countries join Facebook fact-checking

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Facebook today announced the expansion of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme to 10 additional African countries, which now join  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal in the project,

In partnership with Agence France-Presse (AFP), the France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa, this programme forms part of its work in helping assess the accuracy and quality of news people find on Facebook, whilst reducing the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, third-party fact-checking will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.

Feedback from the Facebook community is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows firsthand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme. Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook. While we’ve made great progress, we will keep investing to ensure Facebook remains a place for all ideas, but not for the spread of false news.”

When third-party fact-checkers fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.

Providing fact-checking in English and French across eight countries, Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director said: “AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”

Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English added: “Social networks like Facebook haven’t just changed how Africans consume the news. Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans. They shape our perceptions of the world, our public discourse, and how we interact with public figures. This project helps us dramatically expand our fact-checking to debunk claims that could otherwise cause real-world harm. The project helps us respond more quickly and directly. We’re seeing real positive results in our interactions with both publishers and the public itself. The project also helps our fact-checks reach a far larger audience than we would otherwise. This has helped us better understand the information vacuum and other viral dynamics that drive the spread of false information in Africa. Our growing impact is a small but tangible contribution to better informed societies in Africa.”

Caroline Anipah, Programme Officer, Dubawa (Ghana) said: “Dubawa is excited to be in Ghana where the misinformation and disinformation have become widespread as a result of technological advancement and increasing internet penetration. Dubawa intends to raise the quality of information available to the public with the ultimate aim of curbing the spread of misinformation and disinformation and promoting good governance and accountability.”

Derek Thomson, editor-in-chief of the France 24 Observers, said: “Our African users are constantly sending us questionable images and messages they’ve received via social media, asking us ‘Is this true? Can you check it?’ It’s our responsibility as fact-checking journalists to verify the information that’s circulating, and get the truth back out there. Participating in the Facebook programme helps ensure that our fact-checks are reaching the people who shared the false news in the first place.”

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