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IAB SA launches PoPIA compliance best practice handbook

The IAB South Africa is excited to launch A Practical Guide to Data Protection for the Advertising Industry in South Africa. As data privacy and our right to it become increasingly important in a world that is fast becoming dependent on digital platforms, our data has never been as valuable - or as vulnerable - as it is today. Our hope is that this resource will serve as a supportive guide that will assist our members in ensuring legal compliance with relevant data protection frameworks to enable them to continue to process information in a reasonable and responsible manner.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) South Africa empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership comprises more than 150 leading media companies, brands, and the technology firms responsible for enabling excellence in digital marketing, focusing on identifying and targeting audiences, delivering and optimising campaigns to these audiences and the innovation and selling of such activities. The non-profit, non-government trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, publishers and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing.

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In this regard, we recognise the significance of the data-driven era and its repercussions for the digital marketing and advertising industries. While it has presented innumerable opportunities for organisations to engage with the public, to enhance their service offerings and to increase revenue as a result, it has also presented a veritable minefield of challenges around safeguarding the very data that our industry relies on. At the heart of it, the protection of personal information is about honouring the fundamental human rights of dignity, equality and autonomy. It is, therefore, our constitutional imperative to respect the privacy rights of the persons with whom we engage.

For this reason, the IAB South Africa, in line with our mandate from the IAB globally, has prioritised the need to support our members with data protection compliance, approaching it from a rights-based lens that is duly cognisant of our commitment to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, and other relevant legal frameworks, such as the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013, and the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000. In particular, we seek to support our members in grappling with the implementation of data protection laws in a practical and effective manner that serves the best interests of both consumers and companies.

The launch of this guide is merely one step in the IAB South Africa’s broader strategy. Additional initiatives include training workshops on data protection compliance, advisory notes for our members and continued engagement with the transparency and consent framework pioneered by the IAB Europe. Through these measures, we hope to contribute to making the current regulatory landscape easier to navigate and assist our members as they respond to the changes that these laws herald for the industry.

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Paula Hulley, IAB SA CEO, notes: “While data protection laws may disrupt some of the ways in which the industry operates, they can be of great benefit to industry members too. By protecting the data we are privy to, we are able to increase consumer trust (as well as that of investors and the general public), therefore, fostering customer loyalty and, ultimately, improving brand value. There has been a marked increase in members of the public demanding agency over their personal information. It is now time for the advertising industry to step up and show its commitment to respecting and protecting personal information and to assist the public in making informed decisions.”

IAB SA legal and regulation director Songezo Ralarala weighs in: “It is our hope that this guide will serve as a handbook for PoPIA compliance best practice, and will assist our members in the practical application of the processing of personal data in a way that is both compliant and honours the constitutional rights to privacy and access to information.”

For any queries or to learn more about the IAB South Africa, please visit To download the guide on the IAB SA member portal click here.

Important notes: This guide unpacks the legislative requirements of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (PoPIA) and provides several implementation steps to guide the compliance process. The implementation of PoPIA will differ depending on the size and operations of each organisation and we encourage finding tailored approaches, which allow for the processing of personal information in a way which gives effect to the constitutional rights to privacy and access to information and is legally compliant. While all reasonable steps have been taken by the IAB South Africa to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, regulatory compliance processes will be unique to each individual organisation. The IAB South Africa, therefore, encourages organisations to engage data protection professionals to complement their regulatory compliance processes and to ensure that matters unique to an individual organisation are fully considered. The IAB South Africa is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of the information contained in this guide.

Complaints: To the extent that organisations may become aware of non-PoPIA compliant data protection practices, complaints can be directed to: The Information Regulator of South Africa

IAB South Africa
The IAB South Africa, is an independent, voluntary, non-profit association focused on growing and sustaining a vibrant and profitable digital industry within South Africa.



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