Press release: ISPA Reports on High Level of Code of Conduct Compliance

Published on: 2012-03-22

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The Internet Service Providers` Association (ISPA) recently reported to the Department of Communications that virtually all its members achieved full compliance with the ISPA Code of Conduct last year. This encouraging revelation formed part of the organisation’s annual report on its Code of Conduct, presented to the Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, on 29 February 2012.

Marc Furman, co-chair of ISPA, comments: “As an industry representative body recognised by the Minister, ISPA must monitor and enforce compliance, and I’m pleased to say that we made great progress during 2011. One of the key success factors was ISPA’s code of conduct wizard, which we launched late in 2008.”

The wizard provides a Web-based interface that ISPA members can use to verify their compliance with the code. ISPA offers training and other assistance to help non-compliant members become compliant.

As part of its drive to keep compliance levels high, ISPA introduced a new category of provisional membership during 2011. New members are placed in this category until they achieve full compliance. During this period, they are not eligible to receive any of the benefits ISPA provides to its members, other than the support needed to become compliant.

“This strategy has reduced the number of applicants who apply for ISPA membership, but who are unwilling to invest the time necessary to comply with ISPA’s Code of Conduct,” says Furman.

ISPA dealt with 103 complaints related to its members during 2011, of which 85 were accepted. Of these, 39 related to member compliance with the code of conduct, while the rest related to service levels and customer support (14), billing disputes (14), spam (8), domain names (8), copyright (1) and security (1).

Fifty-one complaints were resolved amicably, while a further 12 appear to have been informally resolved. Ten complaints went to independent adjudication, and 11 were withdrawn (nine of them because the ISP’s membership of ISPA was cancelled). One complaint is still in process.

“Consumers should ensure that they use Internet service providers that are members of ISPA—this way they will deal with companies that are bound by a code of conduct and that subscribe to a clear dispute-resolution process,” Furman adds.

In its report to the Minister, ISPA also noted that it dealt with 98 take-down notifications with respect to content on sites hosted by ISPA members. Of these, 29 were disallowed while the remaining 69 were passed on to the relevant members. In respect of 54 notices, the content was removed while the ISP in question rejected seven. Four notices were withdrawn by the complainant. The ISP was unable to comply with the take-down request in only four instances owing to the content provider changing to a hosting provider that was not a member of ISPA.

“We believe the record shows that ISPA provides an effective way for consumers to escalate disputes with ISPA members, and that the take-down notice process can resolve the problem of unlawful content. We are also engaging with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to create a coordinated approach to dealing with consumer complaints,” concluded Furman.

Further Information

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