Information law

It is trite that companies must comply with all applicable laws and understand the context of the laws which may apply to it.

In processing information of any kind a company will be subject to numerous information-related laws which may affect its processing of the information.

The Companies Act expressly requires that public companies and state owned companies appoint persons knowledgeable and experienced in relevant laws as the company secretary, and the company secretary is obliged to make sure that directors are aware of any law relevant to or affecting the company. The fact that the obligation to appoint a company secretary only applies to public or state owned companies does not in any way detract from all companies’ (and legal entities of any nature) obligation to comply with applicable law or the directors and/or executives of the company or entity ensuring that they identify those laws that are relevant to the operation of the business of the company or the entity.

The King III Report also recommends that companies should also adhere to applicable non-binding rules, codes and standards, if it would constitute good governance and practice.

In addition to the obligations of public and state owned companies all entities who process personal information are obliged in terms the Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act to appoint an “Information Officer”. For the information officer to be able to perform his or her function in compliance with legislation it will be necessary for the information officer to develop a proper understanding of all laws that govern its processing of information from the generation of the information, its processing of information in the normal course of business, the retention of information for record purposes, and ultimately the destruction of information.

Privacy Online can assist companies in identifying laws which are relevant to and affecting its processing of information with a specific focus on the processing of personal information. In doing so it will also assist companies in identifying relevant standards, rules, codes of conduct and other guidelines that may assist its compliance with the law and establishment of frameworks for the processing of information, that are aligned with generally accepted practices relevant to the company.