Original Research

Data protection laws and privacy on Facebook

Phillip Nyoni, Mthulisi Velempini
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 17, No 1 | a636 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v17i1.636 | © 2015 Phillip Nyoni, Mthulisi Velempini | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 August 2014 | Published: 10 July 2015

About the author(s)

Phillip Nyoni, Department of Information Systems, North-West University, South Africa
Mthulisi Velempini, Department of Computer Science, University of Limpopo, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Social networks have changed the way people communicate. Business processes and social interactions revolve more in the cyber space. However, as these cyber technologies advance, users become more exposed to privacy threats. Regulatory frameworks and legal instruments currently lacking a strong cyber presence are required, for the protection of users.

Objectives: There is need to explore and evaluate the extent to which users are exposed to vulnerabilities and threats in the context of the existing protection laws and policies. Furthermore, to investigate how the existing legal instruments can be enhanced to better protect users.

Method: This article evaluates and analyses these privacy challenges from a legalistic point of view. The study is focused on the South African Facebook users. Poll information gathered from the profile pages of users at North-West University was analysed. A short survey was also conducted to validate the poll results. Descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency and measures of spread, have been used to present the data. In addition, a combination of tabulated and graphical description data was also summarised in a meaningful way.

Results: The results clearly show that the legal frameworks and laws are still evolving and that they are not adequately drafted to deal with specific cyber violation of privacy.

Conclusion: This highlights the need to review legal instruments on a regular basis with wider consultation with users in an endeavour to develop a robust and an enforceable legal framework. A proactive legal framework would be the ideal approach unfortunately; law is reactive to cyber-crimes.


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