Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tech Legislation Toughens Up

Companies need a holistic solution to successfully address legislative issues; one that integrates technology and approaches legal issues from a business perspective.

This is according to Reinhardt Buys, head of technology law at Deloitte Legal, speaking at the Deloitte Technology Law Seminar.

“In the 90s we had to force technology law into criminal law, as there were no laws governing technology. Now we have about 25 laws in legislation to address technology issues and nobody can ignore this anymore,” he said.

According to Buys there are few laws that govern technology directly. “Most technology legislation is encapsulated into other laws,” he explained.

Aside from the Electronic Communications Act, another important piece of pending legislation is the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill, said Buys.

This bill is currently with Parliament and is expected to be promulgated into an act by mid-2010, he added.

When promulgated, this act will govern “the processing of personal information, captured in a record by a responsible party,” which means the position and responsibility of the information officer in any organisation will become much more important, Buys explained.

“The POPI Act will not be a paper-tiger. There is a lot of weight to this legislation.”

Buys suggested that companies put in place a privacy and data protection policy as a matter of urgency.

He noted there will be much heavier fines for companies and individuals as well as harsher jail sentences if they do not comply.

“Governing technology and the way we handle personal information is becoming a necessity and is being taken much more seriously by the law. Companies will have to abide by it or face the consequences,” Buys concluded.

IT Web

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