S. African president signs Protection of Personal Information Bill

S. African president signs Protection of Personal Information Bill

CAPE TOWN, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday signed into law the Protection of Personal Information Bill which protects citizens' right to privacy.

"The Act will give effect to the right to privacy, by introducing measures to ensure that the personal information of an individual is safeguarded when it is processed by responsible parties," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

The Act also seeks to balance the right to privacy against other rights, particularly the right of access to information, and to generally protect important interests, including the free flow of information within and across the borders of the republic, said Maharaj.

Containing eight principles responsible parties need to comply with, the Bill gives expression to the right to privacy provided for in the Constitution.

The right to privacy includes the right to protection against unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of anyone's personal information.

"The Bill is comprehensive and regulates the manner in which personal information may be processed, by establishing conditions in harmony with international standards that prescribe the minimum threshold requirements for the lawful processing of personal information," the parliamentarian Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development said after MPs passed the Act in August.

As a means of achieving its objectives, the Bill establishes the Office of the Information Regulator as an independent, statutory body, accountable to the National Assembly.

The Information Regulator, amongst other duties and functions, will take over from the Human Rights Commission powers and functions relating to the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

This Bill will bring South Africa in line with international data protection laws.