Pick n Pay scraps its notice boards due to POPI Act

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Pick n Pay has done away with its notice boards for the foreseeable future until it can figure out how the public can utilise the boards while protecting their personal information.

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act) or POPIA came into effect in July 2021, and all the implications of the new law still have to be figured out, according to Vaughan Pierce, GM and Group Legal Advisor at Pick n Pay.

Though customers may voluntarily put their information on the boards, there are no mechanisms to monitor and consent that they are voluntarily displaying their personal information, adds Pierce.

“POPIA aims to ensure that reasonable measures are put in place to ensure all personal information is protected,” says Pierce.

“There is not yet much precedent in answer to interpretation questions arising out of our interaction with the act, ” says Helene Viljoen an attorney, who specialises as a legal advisor on privacy issues.

Viljoen says, the act stipulates that the ‘data subject’ is the person to whom the personal information belongs. Information from the data subject can only be used should they consent to do so. The act also stipulates that the information should be used lawfully, and those who process it are then accountable for the lawful processing thereof.

It is assumed, as per the act, that the information being processed will be done so justly.

Notice boards commonly found in supermarkets and local stores are some of the more older forms of communication amongst locals in communities to advertise sales of services, goods, pets, to advertise flea markets, rentals and more.

“It is my opinion that anyone who makes their personal information publicly available by posting it onto a notice board, communicates it voluntarily and to the public, while indicating the limits that apply to such processing. It is then the duty of each person who processes that information to act accordingly,” says Viljoen.

As a data subject she believes that by availing your personal information to the public for use as advertised, you are providing a clear indication of your reasonable privacy expectations.

”Those who process my [your] phone number, must do so while heeding the conditions for lawful processing,” she adds.

This is merely an invitation for a person to contact about a sale, purchase of goods or services but not for them to exploit your information.

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