UIF claimants must report data breaches to Information Regulator

The Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) online portal for June Covid-19 Ters applications has once again been shut down following data breaches this morning.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is urging all Ters applicants whose personal data have been compromised to report this at once to the Information Regulator.

This is the third time in less than a week that June applications have been suspended because of a glitch in the system. This means that applicants’ personal information, including their full names, ID numbers, UIF reference numbers, contact details, remuneration details and banking details could have been made available to third parties.

Many employers reported being able to see – and take screen shots of – their competitors’ personal information when they logged onto the site this morning. In that sense, it does not matter that the system has been temporarily taken down, because the information could already have been captured and been put to nefarious ends.

This constitutes a serious and perilous data breach, and both the UIF and the Minister of Employment and Labour must be held to account.The breach violates the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013, which promotes the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies.

In terms of the Act, the Information Regulator is empowered to monitor and enforce compliance. Chapter 10 of the Act provides for complaints to be lodged with the Information Regulator by persons regarding any interference with the protection of their personal information.

The DA calls upon all affected parties to lodge their complaints with the Information Regulator at once.

The UIF must also get its act together so that June applications – which are already significantly overdue – can open in such a way that employers and employees have peace of mind that their personal information will not be compromised.

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