n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Core principles of data protection law

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Data protection legislation is essential to protect the interests (such as privacy and identity) of individuals who can no longer control the use made of their personal information. The international nature of data protection necessitates a harmonised approach by all countries involved. International expectations increasingly put pressure on countries without data protection legislation to adopt such legislation if they wish to remain part of the international information community. Despite differences in language, legal traditions and cultural and social values, there has been a broad measure of agreement on the basic principles that should be embodied in data protection legislation. These principles can be formulated as the principle of fair and lawful processing; purpose specification; minimality; quality; openness or transparency; data subject participation; sensitivity; security and confidentiality; and accountability. These data protection principles should all be given effect to in a South African data protection law. This article examines the data protection principles from a comparative perspective, and discusses how they should be implemented in a South African data protection law.

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