Original Research

Make personal information security great again: A case of users’ perspectives on personal identifiable information in South Africa

Kavish Rajkumar, Kennedy Njenga
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 24, No 1 | a1526 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v24i1.1526 | © 2022 Kavish Rajkumar, Kennedy Njenga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2022 | Published: 17 October 2022

About the author(s)

Kavish Rajkumar, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Kennedy Njenga, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: There is concern that information technology (IT) users are not taking cognisance of personal information security (PIS), with many keen to disclose personal identifiable information (PII) across connected and integrated IT systems that use the Internet. Compromised PII has led to many users being vulnerable to information security risks emanating from malicious software and hackers.

Objective: This article elicits perspectives from IT users in the metropole area of Johannesburg, South Africa, in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of oversharing PII across the Internet.

Methods: The study uses a quantitative approach to elicit data on user perspectives. The quantitative data were collected through online surveys distributed amongst IT employees working across various companies in Johannesburg.

Results: The results revealed that of the four constructs drawn from the literature review, namely training, interest, awareness and action that possibly predict user predisposition to maintain information security at a personal level, of concern is that only the construct interest would not likely predict PIS.

Conclusion: Dangers such as identity theft and phishing attacks are exacerbated by the willingness of users to overshare PII across social networks. A concerted user awareness campaign to promote user PIS needs to be revisited whilst incorporating innovative ways to raise interest amongst users regarding these dangers. South African companies are encouraged to invest resources in bespoke ways to increase user interest, which would be seen as an ideal starting point to making PIS great again.


personal identifiable information; personal information security; South Africa; users; IS threats


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