FPB issues Outoilet takedown notice

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Cape Town, 26 Nov 2010

The Film and Publications Board (FPB) has issued a takedown notice to the Russian owners of the Outoilet social networking gossip site.

It is now awaiting action from its counterpart in that country, says FPB CEO Yoliswa Makhasi.

Outoilet is a wireless applications provider-enabled site that has been a big hit among local school children - initially those from the poor Cape Flats area - but has since spread to other parts of the country. The site has caused an outcry among parents, teachers and authorities for allowing slander to be spread due to its anonymous nature.

Recently, all three of the major mobile network operators, Cell C, Vodacom and MTN, said they will block access to the site over their networks.

Makhasi explains the takedown notice is a practice where an offended party or complainant issues a notice, through an association or legal entity, such as a court, demanding the owners of a site close it down, or remove illegal or offensive content. Laws surrounding the penalties and consequences of not complying with such a demand vary from country to country.

“Our Russian counterpart has acknowledged receipt of out complaint. We have also pointed out that the site contravenes Russia's own laws regarding sites - such as that no bullying or slander is allowed,” she notes.

However, Makhasi says no word has been received from the Russian regulator about what it intends to do about it.

Meanwhile, the FPB will today destroy more than 50 000 confiscated CDs that contain images of pornography and violence against women and children.

Makhasi says these CDs were confiscated in a number of raids conducted jointly by the board and the police over the past year, which resulted in convictions. The material was originally kept as court exhibits and is no longer needed.

The FPB is also, this week, maintaining a presence at the Cape Town Sexpo exhibition. The board is listed as a platinum sponsor.

The objective of its presence is to highlight the dangers of child pornography, and caution that social networking sites should be used carefully and with circumspection, as they can be dangerous.

Related story:
Vodacom, MTN block Outoilet