Possible 10-year sentence for sharing pics, videos of minors amid POPI Act

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People who film and share videos of minors without the consent of their guardians could face up to 10 years imprisonment. This is in line with the newly gazetted Protection of Personal Information Act, known as POPIA.

The Information Regulator of South Africa says the Act prohibits the distribution of personal information without the consent of the individual identified in the item being distributed.

Since the opening of schools last week, various videos of primary school-going pupils reflecting them in a bad light have been trending on social media platforms.

Legal experts say there are various provisions for recourse in cases where people are filmed and posted without their consent.

An advocate of the Supreme Court, Professor Leaka Letsoalo says if one is found to be in violation of POPIA, a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment can be imposed.

“In terms of Section 39, the appointed regulator is not like a policeman, it’s just to gather information to see if these people can be reconciled otherwise it’s then elevated to what they call an enforcement committee which also has to investigate to see how far it goes…If it is found that the matter is so serious that it has to be taken to the magistrate’s court…the person can be sentenced to a period of ten years,” adds Lestoalo.

The Act can also be used as a reference in instances where consumers feel that their personal information is abused or companies demand personal information when it is not necessary.

In such cases, the Information Regulator says continuous breaches of processing personal information of a person could lead to a fine of up to R10 million to 10 years imprisonment.

Member of Information Regulator Alison Tilley elaborates on what the Act really means for the public: 

4 hours ago