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Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PELJ)

On-line version ISSN 1727-3781


BOTES, M; OLCKERS, A  and  LABUSCHAIGNE, M. Data Commercialisation in the South African Health Care Context. PER [online]. 2021, vol.24, n.1, pp.1-35. ISSN 1727-3781.

Realisation of the value and the commercialisation potential of data is gaining exponential momentum. The combination of historical data exploitations and the use of technologies that allow for the triangulation of data results in the collection, storage, and processing of massive amounts of data require diligent data management, including adherence to privacy and other laws, both nationally and internationally. The intrinsic value of scientific data, especially in genomics, becomes apparent when data are shared, often in collaboration with international partners, and compiled into big data sets that are subsequently used for benefit, including commercial benefit. The purpose of this article is to explore the commercialisation of data in South Africa against the backdrop of the legal framework governing the protection of personal information, confidentiality and privacy, with a specific focus on genetic and genomic information. Related issues, such as the collection and sharing of data, ownership of data and challenges about informed consent are also considered. After a brief evaluation of the African regulatory landscape relating to the protection of personal information, the article concludes with a few recommendations aimed at improving the status quo and sensitising the South African public as to the value of their data and personal information, as well as the potential uses and abuses to which their personal information may be subjected.

Keywords : Data commercialisation; privacy protection; intellectual property; data sharing; data ownership; genomic research; Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.

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