Press release: ISPA Members Face Compliance Test

Published on: 2011-01-11

Return to press release index

Everyone who has Internet connectivity has had at least some experience dealing with spam, not to mention phishing attacks. When it comes to reporting problems of this nature, it is imperative that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have a working ‘abuse address’.

The abuse address is necessary so that customers, other ISPs and Internet users can report such issues, whether these are instances of spam, phishing or some other form of network problem.

The abuse address is a global Internet standard. Of course, having a working address is pointless unless the ISPs have someone actively monitoring them. The South African Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) takes such a requirement very seriously. It is, in fact, a condition of ISPA’s Code of Conduct and as such, the organisation has been actively testing its members’ compliance. This has been done by sending test messages to members’ registered abuse addresses, and tracking the responses.

Ant Brooks, ISPA General Manager, points out that the tests were run on members’ abuse e-mail addresses with an eye on ensuring that all members adhere to the Code of Conduct. “The code states that our members must not send or promote the sending of unsolicited bulk e-mail and must take reasonable measures to ensure that their networks are not used by others for this purpose,” says Brooks.

“Additionally, the code insists that ISPA members must provide a facility for dealing with complaints regarding unsolicited bulk e-mail and unsolicited commercial communications, originating from their networks. They are also required to react expeditiously to complaints received.”

He says that the tests were conducted across ISPA’s core membership base of some 180 organisations and produced some gratifying results.

“The good news was that a large number of ISPA’s members proved to be extremely responsive to abuse reports. Some 66 members responded within an hour, and half of those within five minutes. The fastest respondent took a mere six seconds to act on the abuse mail,” he says.

“However, the test also uncovered some problems with certain members. We discovered that 19 members have not registered valid abuse addresses, while the mail bounced for a further 17. A significant number of members also failed to respond to the abuse test mail, even after a week.”

Brooks states that those member ISPs that failed the initial test are clearly not adhering to ISPA’s Code of Conduct and as such, have been informed that they must improve their service dramatically.

“ISPA has warned all these non-compliant members of their failure in this regard. The organisation will soon be conducting a further round of testing, which will focus on those members who did not perform adequately during the first test. ISPA firmly believes that the SA ISP industry needs to maintain a world class level of service, and as such we intend to make sure all our members have working abuse addresses that are actively monitored,” concludes Brooks.

Further Information

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