New Laws on Mobile Marketing in South Africa Privacy laws in South Africa have been getting a lot of attention over the last four years, and as a result, many of the existing laws have been reassessed and some of them adapted to better suit the current technological state of our society. While the biggest change among them all is undoubtedly the proposed Protection of State Information Bill, which is still being hotly contested by many parties and organizations, some of the other fundamental electronically based protection Bills have been edited   The Protection of Private Information Bill, revised in 2009, had before then allowed parties using e-mail databases for marketing campaigns to do so lawfully as long as they provided both a valid identity and the option to unsubscribe from further communication. When (and if) the bill comes into effect, e-mail marketing must be more strictly structured in order to be considered lawful. For instance, e-mails can only be sent to existing customers, and must only be used to promote products or services similar to those that have previously been purchased.   In terms of the collection of personal information, the bill does not make the sale of e-mail databases for marketing purposes illegal, but makes the collection process much more open. For instance, the potential client must be notified that their information will be used for marketing purposes, and must be asked for their express permission before the sale of their information to a third party can take place.   The bill also places strict emphasis on the type of information that can be collected via these means. Information on children, sexual activity, religion, political affiliation, health and criminal behavior or history may not be collected, as these are considered ‘special’ aspects of personal information.   As a result, the bill concerning mobile/e-mail marketing have made the process of collection as well as the distribution and use of personal information more privacy oriented, and if used correctly could make the relation between client and marketer more cohesive. However, the strictness of bill will mean that many current users of the e-mail marketing technique would have to reevaluate their processes in order to adhere. The bill is still currently before parliament.   Written By Wesley Geyer Creative Writer for ATKA SA