Sharing these types of photos in South Africa will land you in legal trouble: regulator

The Information Regulator has warned South Africans against publishing personal information of people without their consent – including photographs.

The regulator cited a recent incident where photographs of former president Jacob Zuma were distributed through social media after he was taken to a facility of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

“The regulator has since sent a letter to the DCS requesting for the departmental measures that are in place to safeguard and prevent loss and unlawful access of personal information, such as photographs of new inmates.

“The Regulator has also requested the current status on this matter and the steps that the DCS have taken to mitigate any alleged breach.”

Sending of personal information 

The Information regulator said that photographs clearly identifying an individual are regarded as personal information in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, and that distribution of such material is regarded as the processing of personal information in terms of the act.

“The act prohibits the distribution of personal information without the consent of the individual that is being identified in the item being distributed.

“We urge the public to be informed about the rights of individuals in so far as the law is concerned and not engage in activity that violates another person’s rights or the provisions of the act through the distribution of personal information without the consent of the data subject.”

The regulator said that it expects that the necessary corrective action will be taken by the Department of Correctional Services to ensure that those found to be in breach of the law are held accountable and that similar breaches of the law are not repeated.


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Sharing these types of photos in South Africa will land you in legal trouble: regulator