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Topic 5 - Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Oct 19, 2020, 07:22 AM by Rian Schoeman

POPIA Principle 5  – Information Quality

The responsible party must take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that has been collected is complete, accurate, not misleading and up to date and take into consideration the purpose for which the personal information was collected

MYTH: IF I RELY ON A THIRD PARTY TO COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION ON MY BEHALF, I CAN ASSUME THAT THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AND CORRECT

RESPONSE: SINCE THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY HAS THE DUTY TO ENSURE THAT INFORMATION IS ACCURATE, COMPLETE AND NOT MISLEADING THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A DUTY ON THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY TO VERIFY THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION NO MATTER WHO COLLECTS IT.

This is one of the more onerous conditions imposed on responsible parties under POPIA. In most instances when information is obtained from a source, there is no further duty to confirm the accuracy of the information (some obvious exclusions like  journalism exist). When it comes to personal information though, POPIA makes it clear that the responsible party has a duty to confirm the completeness, accuracy and veracity of the information.

While POPIA does not state a specific reason for this, one should think of the consequences of processing personal information for the data subject. A good example may be that a credit application is denied, due to inaccurate personal information being collected. 

This is also one of those provisions in POPIA that is actually good for the responsible party. It is in the interests of any company to ensure that the information they hold on their customers is correct and up to date and there should consequently be a mechanism by which responsible parties can ensure that they verify the information of their customers.

TIP: Use any contact with your customer as an opportunity to ensure you have correct information. When you phone a customer or they contact you, ask them if their phone number, address and email address are still the same. This is a very un-intrusive and easy way to ensure that your data is up to date.

Adv Rian Schoeman

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