Much has been said and published about the protection of one’s personal information – such as ID numbers, email addresses, mobile numbers and the like.

For the MICE industry there are a multitude of implications when it comes to collecting, using and storing information.

So the approval of Protection of Personal Information (POPI) by parliament this past week will have a major impact on the MICE industry.

No more will there be a bargaining tool such as ‘let us use your facility and in return we will give you the contact details of all the attendees’. A few other classic no-no’s are:

  • ‘Buy a stand at our exhibition and you will get the visitor’s list with contact details’
  • ‘When completing this form – we also want to know what type of cell phone you have’

Of course modern technology ensures that your details can be captured with your agreement on a one-to-one basis.  This does not give the receiver of the information to in any way use, sell or barter your personal information just because it has cost big marketing bucks to get the individual to ‘buy-in’ in the first place.

Those who become savvy with the POPI rules and regulations will discover a great deal of assertive ability which should prevent and certainly cut-down on the amount of emails and sms’s which – at the present time – is a deluge of unwanted information.

POPI will also commence a long overdue requirement in the industry known as Document Management.   According to Craig Freer who is the Enterprise Production Head at Vox Telekom, document management is a set of rules and standards surrounding the methods of storing and managing all information (in document form) across the organisation. ‘It’s becoming critical’ says Craig ‘not only because of the risks that are part and parcel of handling sensitive information, but also because of the sheer volume of data that we are accumulating’.

The Academy will be placing greater emphasis on what you can and more importantly what you cannot do – without the permission of the individual and their personal information.

Concluded Freer ‘We need to be able to respond to information faster and more efficiently if we are to compete in today’s rapidly paced marketplace – which means that we need to access, search and share data quickly’….and with POPI – legally as well.