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These are the online and privacy changes coming to South Africa

Legal firm Webber Wentzel has published a list of legal developments for businesses and individuals to monitor in 2021.

One of the key legal developments that South Africans should be aware of relates to information privacy and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), the firm said.

“Businesses will need to be fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA) by 30 June 2021.

“The Information Regulator is expected to approve and publish various guidelines in 2021, which will help businesses to interpret and comply with POPIA.”

Webber Wentzel said that these guidelines include final guidelines for codes of conduct, final guidelines for the registration of Information Officers, and a guide to assist organisations to comply with POPIA and the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The firm said that Cybercrimes Bill is also awaiting presidential signature and could come into force in 2021.

“Once the Bill is signed into law, a person found guilty of a cybercrime may be imprisoned for up to 15 years, depending on the offence,” it said.

“Cybercrimes include illegally accessing a computer system or intercepting data, cyber fraud, cyber forgery and cyber extortion.

“Electronic communications service providers and financial institutions will need to familiarise themselves with the reporting and other obligations imposed on them once the Bill is signed into law.”

Webber Wentzel said that South Africa is also awaiting policy and regulatory certainty on the licensing of high-demand spectrum, licensing of the Wireless Open Access Network and strategies from government relating to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Mobile network operators are likely to experience further increased regulatory pressure to lower the prices of connectivity services for the end-consumer,” it aid.

“The convergence of technology will continue to change the regulatory landscape, as regulators such as the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa grapple with the disruption of over-the-top (streaming) services.”

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