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What SAbiz must know about GDPR and POPI

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In remaining compliant with new data protection legislation, companies can generate even greater value from their data, says CLEO BECKER, Regional Counsel Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, Pakistan, Turkey and Israel for Hitachi Data Systems.

The conversation around data has become increasingly complex – with multiple pieces of data-focused legislation in play, companies no longer need to simply know how to unlock the value in their data, but also how to make sure they remain compliant.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25 May 2018, it’s important for South African businesses which conduct business in the EU to understand exactly how they will be affected. According to the legislation any company which processes the personal data of EU residents in connection with the offering of goods or services, or monitors the behaviour of those residents may need to comply.

GDPR will affect SA businesses

There are a number of key requirements set out in Article 5 of the GDPR, which include the responsibility for companies to process personal data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, as well as to ensure that personal data is kept accurate and up to date, and only retained for as long as is necessary for a company to achieve the purposes for which the personal data was collected.

There are further requirements stipulated in the legislation of which companies need to take note.  One of the most topical of these may be the obligation for personal data to be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of that data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage. This is particularly the case due to the growing threat of cyberattacks which target personal data.

These requirements make it essential for companies to know what kind of personal data they hold and where it is stored.

How POPI fits into the picture

To complicate matters, South African companies also need to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI).

Luckily, the provisions across the two pieces of data protection legislation are so similar (save for naming conventions) that complying with the GDPR means complying with POPI should be smooth sailing. For example, both POPI and the GDPR necessitate compliance with certain principles when processing personal data, they both require the regulator be notified in the case of a privacy breach (although notification time periods differ), both POPI and GDPR call for a data protection officer to be appointed, and both place restrictions on and requirements for what personal data can be sent outside of the EU (in the case of the GDPR) and South Africa (in the case of POPI).

Unlike the GDPR, we don’t know when POPI will come into effect. What we do know is that there will be a one-year transitional period for companies to become compliant once the date of implementation is announced.

Make sure you’re ready

Both POPI and the GDPR require companies to identify all the personal data they hold, keep that personal data up to date and accurate, set retention policies around each piece of personal data and put appropriate security safeguards in place to prevent unauthorised access, loss, damage, modification or destruction of that data. This means businesses need to make sure they employ industry best practice when it comes to their technology, IT processes and security, ensuring they have clear policies in place; that their staff are properly trained; and that there is adequate protection in their supplier contracts.

To meet these security requirements, companies may also wish to consider technology functionality such as encryption, and ensure that they back up or replicate their data in accordance with best practices to avoid losses.

How tech can help

Technology will play a big role in efficient compliance with GDPR and POPI as large amounts of data need to be clearly identified and stored for certain periods.

Technology can help companies make sense of their data and increase efficiencies through automation. For example, it can assist in responding to requests from both data subjects and regulators in a timely manner by making the data easily searchable. Once personal data is identified technology can be used to set further controls around who accesses the personal data and for how long it needs to be retained. Service providers like Hitachi will assist with the compliance journey by identifying what personal data the company holds, where that data is located (on premises or in the cloud) and assessing whether it includes personal data or sensitive personal data – particularly as different rules apply to both.

Once the personal data is identified, Hitachi makes use of the Hitachi Content Platform to store the data. This platform makes use of object storage, which allows companies to further enrich the metadata on their files to make them more easily searchable, independent of applications.

Hitachi Content Intelligence can then be used to search for and set controls on files within the Hitachi Content Platform. For example, a company could locate all of its files which contain a credit card or identity number and then set controls on who can access those files, and alerts as to when those files need to be deleted.

It’s no secret that data is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of organisations – gaining greater insight into that data not only assists with regulatory compliance, but also with identifying and uncovering new revenue opportunities.

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Small SA 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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Facebook fact-checking goes to 10 more African countries

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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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