Invasion of privacy

Jessame Malan, Somerset West

The letter of October 4 from Hennie Vermaas regarding he security company’s scanning of car licence discs refers and I agreed with him 100%.

As far as I am concerned this action is unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy. In terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI). Personal information is considered “precious goods”. It gives us, the individual, the right to control when and how We choose to share information – it requires our consent. We choose the type of information to share – there must be valid reasons for collecting it.

Transparency and accountability must be provided on how our data will be used – ie limited to the purpose and notification if and or when the data is compromised.

We have the right to have data removed and or destroyed if we so wish and further: there must be adequate measures and controls in place to track access and prevent unauthorised people, even within the same company, from accessing your information, including:

How and where your information is stored (there must be adequate measures and controls in place to safeguard your information to protect it from theft, or being compromised)

The integrity and continued accuracy of your information (i.e. your information must be captured correctly and once collected, the institution is responsible to maintain it)

Who has access to your information, i.e. there must be adequate measures and controls in place to track access and prevent unauthorised people, even within the same company, from accessing your information

How and where your information is stored (there must be adequate measures and controls in place to safeguard your information to protect it from theft, or being compromised)

The integrity and continued accuracy of your information (i.e. your information must be captured correctly and once collected, the institution is responsible to maintain it).

The combination of someone’s name and phone number and/or email address for example is a lot more significant than just a name or phone number on its own.

We have to accept that we now live in an information age and along with this progress comes the responsibility for each person to take care of and protect their own information. Examples of “personal information” for an individual could include:

1 Identity/ passport number

2 Date of birth and age

3 Phone number/s (including mobile phone number)

4 Email address/es

5 Online/Instant messaging identifiers

6 Physical address

7 Gender, race and ethnic origin

8 Photos, voice recordings, video footage (also CCTV), biometric data

9 Marital/relationship status and family relations

10 Criminal record

11 Private correspondence

12 Religious or philosophical beliefs including personal and political opinions

13 Employment history and salary information

14 Financial information

15 Education information

16 Physical and mental health information including medical history, blood type, details on your sex life

17 Membership to organisations/unions

The only people who can record car licence information by electronic or other means is the traffic department and its officials. Not one of the security staff is in this category. It is high handed, arrogant and goes way beyond the scope of duties of a security guard and the employing company.

Points 1, 2 ,3, 4, 6 and 8 above would be obtainable from licence disc data. Some places scan this and take a photo – without permission. They also seem to target ordinary passenger vehicles, yet delivery trucks with covered canopies and containers are not put through the same rigours, yet they have far more opportunity of hiding stolen goods.

No Mr Vermaas, you are not stubborn – you are merely standing up for your constitutional rights, as we all should. I suggest that we all keep a copy of the Act in our cars in order to educate these companies and their staff.