By Kaya 959 News
Users have until May 15 to accept the new WhatsApp terms and conditions. Failure to do so could result in the app not functioning properly.
Regulator chairperson, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, said they have written to WhatsApp LLC, requesting that it revises the policy in South Africa. To the standard used in the European Union.
She said they have yet to hear back from WhatsApp.
“Under the circumstances, we are briefing attorneys to prepare an opinion on the way forward in terms of litigation,” she said.
Two privacy policies
It remains the Regulator’s assertion that the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has a privacy regime that is very similar to the EU regime, and therefore believes that WhatsApp should adopt the EU policy in South Africa, and other countries in the global south that have similar regimes.
“We are of the view that despite WhatsApp operating in different legal and regulatory environments, there are effectively two privacy policies for the users of WhatsApp,” Tlakula said.
There are substantial differences between the policies for users living in Europe compared to the one for users living outside of Europe.
Given Facebook’s status as one of the world’s largest companies, Tlakula said that it should work together with other organisations in order to hold Facebook accountable.
Protection of personal information
On May 8, the Regulator engaged the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA), to obtain the view or position of the GPA on the compliance of the Revised Policy with generally acceptable data protection principles and whether it intends to engage WhatsApp on this matter.
The Reseau Africain Des Autorite De Protection Des Donness Personelles (RAPDP), an African Network of Data Protection Authorities, which South Africa is also a member to, engaged robustly with Facebook on the matter.
The Regulator has also asked the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to request Facebook South Africa (SA) and WhatsApp LLC to appear in Parliament on this matter.
“We are obligated as the Regulator to ensure the protection of personal information of all South African citizens and monitor compliance of the POPIA by responsible parties.
“We therefore will take this matter further and seek legal opinions and advocate for collaborative efforts,” said Tlakula.