POPI    |    Part 3    |    Online Version    

Getting to know POPI: Definitions

It is important to understand POPI’s definition of “personal information” and “process” in order to determine whether POPI will apply to a specific situation.

“Personal information” includes information of a living, identifiable natural person or an existing juristic person.

The situation in South Africa differs from that of many other countries that have similar legislation, because most countries regulate the processing of people's personal information only. However, in South Africa, the law will also regulate personal information of existing companies, close corporations and the like. Note that this is one of the key differences in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation – a set of POPI like rules in the EU). 

The definition of “personal information” covers a very broad spectrum of information, such as a person’s race, gender, age, medical history, employment history, address and various other classes of information.

The definition also includes a person’s biometric information (for example, their fingerprints) as well as private correspondence and opinions of an individual. 

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We hope you enjoyed the third edition of Getting To Know POPI. We will explore "process" in the next edition. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to click here to send us an email.

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