The Information Regulator in South Africa says it notes with concern photographs of former President Jacob Zuma taken in jail have been distributed through social media.

The regulator has sent a letter to the prison service, the Department of Correctional Services, requesting measures are in place to safeguard and prevent loss and unlawful access of personal information, such as photographs of new inmates.

The watchdog has also asked the department what steps it has taken to mitigate any alleged breach.

“The regulator reminds the public that photographs clearly identifying an individual are regarded as personal information in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, and that distribution of such material is regarded as processing of personal information in terms of the act,” it said.

“The act prohibits the distribution of personal information without the consent of the individual that is being identified in the item being distributed.

“We urge the public … not [to] engage in action that violates another person’s rights or the provisions of the act.”

The regulator added it expects necessary corrective action will be taken by the department to ensure those found to have broken the law are held accountable and similar breaches are not repeated.

Zuma was jailed for contempt of court in a corruption case.

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