In Makhanda, many community WhatsApp group admins on Wednesday posted a message regarding some implications of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) for such groups. Makhanda resident Ryno Le Roux wrote an explanation for one neighbourhood group of why the message is necessary, along with a rough summary of POPIA, which comes into force on 1 July 2021. He has given GMD permission to share it with our readers.
POPIA and your WhatsApp groups
The primary objective of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is to protect a person’s private information and to give individuals more say in what information business and companies are allowed to keep and for how long they are allowed to keep it.
The short of it is that all businesses that keep any form of personal information on their customers/clients must ensure that they are POPIA compliant.
Due to the fact that community WhatsApp groups have lots of members and provide information such as names and contact numbers (i.e. personal information) for each member, administrators of community WhatsApp groups must broadcast a message, in which they state that members of the group automatically agree that their names and contacts are shared if they choose to remain part of the group.
If members do not agree to this, they can choose to leave/exit the group. By doing so, the group administrators comply with POPIA as A) They inform the members of the group that their data is exposed and can be used and B) provide members with an option to opt out should they not want their information shared.
- Ryno le Roux is the Server & Network administrator for GBS Mutual Bank in Makhanda but wrote this in his personal capacity.