Press release: ISPA Concludes Landmark Spam Court Case

Published on: 2014-06-23

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The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has accepted an offer of R65 000 from Ketler Investments CC t/a Ketler Presentations in full and final settlement of the costs incurred by ISPA as a result of an ill-fated action brought against it by the online marketing company in June 2012.

June 2013 saw the South Gauteng High Court dismiss, with costs, an application by Ketler Presentations to censor ISPA’s spam “Hall of Shame”. Ketler had applied to the High Court in 2012 to try to force ISPA to remove its name from a web page – the Hall of Shame – listing South African companies who send out spam. The court agreed with ISPA that Ketler Presentations had contravened section 45 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002 through the sending of unsolicited commercial communications, even after undertaking to ISPA that it would not do so after originally being listed in the ISPA Hall of Shame in 2009 as a repeat offender.

“As Ketler Presentations and others have found to their cost, ISPA will defend its rights to take action against spammers in South Africa and, if necessary, pursue litigation aimed at protecting the rights of South African Internet consumers and ensuring a safe, accessible and equitable local web,” said Dominic Cull, ISPA regulatory advisor.

Cull confirmed that ISPA has received a signed undertaking from Ketler Investments to cease spamming. The undertaking to observe best practice in the sending of commercial email commits Ketler Investments to ensuring that it has properly obtained the consent of any consumer to which it sends commercial email.

The company further confirmed that all purchased email addresses in respect of which it did not have proof of consent have been deleted from its systems.

“This is probably the first substantial penalty paid by a local sender of unsolicited commercial email communications, even if it is indirectly. There is at least one less unwanted inbox intruder for a lot of South African Internet users after the conclusion of this matter, and the implementation of the Protection of Personal Information over the next few years could well tip the scales if people exercise the rights it gives them,” concluded Cull.

Founded almost two decades ago, ISPA represents 168 Internet member organisations and undertakes a variety of industry–promoting projects, including running three Internet exchanges, providing IT training for teachers and combating spam in South Africa.

Further Information

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