Press Release:

ISPA Advises ISPs to Register with the FPB Before 27 January 2023

Published on: 2022-12-08

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South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) and the country’s Film and Publication Board (FPB) have a close working relationship and ISPA views recent concerns raised about the requirement of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to register with the FPB as somewhat overblown.

“There has been a requirement under the Films and Publications Act for ISPs to register with the FPB since 2004,” says ISPA regulatory advisor, Dominic Cull. “The extent to which this has been enforced over the years has, however, varied.”

In a notice published in October 2022, the FPB indicated that the registration requirement will be enforced going forward by requiring that ISPs – defined in the Act as ‘anyone who carries on the business of providing access to the Internet by any means’ – provide proof of registration by 27 January 2023.

There is a prescribed form for registration, which costs R678.76 as a once-off fee. Registrants are also required to set out the steps which they take to prevent the use of their services for the hosting or distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

“Those who fall within the definition of ISP have no choice but to comply with the registration requirement,” notes Cull.

“This is not to say, however, that ISPA does not have serious concerns about the new powers which the FPB has and the manner in which these will be implemented. These have been directly communicated to the FPB.”

One area of concern is the overlap between the Films and Publications Act and other legislation such as the Cybercrimes Act and the Domestic Violence Act.

“ISPs work with SAPS and other law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct – including offences relating to CSAM. This is done in accordance with applicable procedures set out in legislation such as the Criminal Procedure Act and the Cybercrimes Act.

“Having duplicated reporting obligations under the FPB is problematic, particularly where personal information is required to be handed to the Board without any court authorisation.”

ISPA appreciates the actions taken by the FPB to educate South Africans about online harms and will continue to engage with a view towards deepening the FPB’s understanding of the Internet industry in South Africa.

ISPA is a non-profit company and recognised Internet industry representative body with some 215 ISP members.

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Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.