ISPA sued for defamation

Read time 2min 20sec

The Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) is being sued for defamation by one of the “repeat offenders” on its online spam culprit list, the ISPA Hall of Shame.

Ketler Presentations, currently number four on ISPA's list, has been listed since 2009. Last week, the international training company took ISPA to court, on the grounds of defamation.

According to ISPA, Ketler Presentations has a history of sending spam, with “multiple submissions from ISPA members or trusted independent sources”. The association says that, although Ketler previously returned a signed undertaking that it would cease to proliferate marketing material, the company continued to e-mail parties who had not opted in. For this reason, ISPA said at the time of Ketler's listing in 2009 that the company would remain listed for three years.

While the two parties appeared in the South Gauteng High Court on Friday, ISPA says a judgement is only likely in July or August, as court is in recess from next week. “However, the hearing went well and ISPA is looking forward to a favourable outcome.”

Prior to ISPA's court appearance, the association's regulatory advisor, Dominic Cull, said a court case could have positive implications, in that it may set a precedent. “The law around these issues [of unsolicited marketing material, or spam] is not what it should be.”

Should the outcome be in favour of ISPA, the association believes it will mark a significant milestone for South African ICT law.

Ketler Presentations declined to comment on the issue.

Growing list

ISPA's Hall of Shame is aimed at highlighting South African spammers, which the association says are rapidly multiplying in number. In April, the list - updated quarterly - topped all previous records, with 64 spammers and 34 e-mail address resellers “named and shamed”.

While there is no specific order in which spammers are listed, ISPA says “serial spammers” who have been listed for a long time are more likely to appear at the top of the list. Currently, the top five spammers are Dynamic Seminars, New Heights 1268/Jaco Derksen, SA Webs, Ketler Presentations and Brain Power.

According to ISPA's policy governing the Hall of Shame list, new spammers are added when they meet the listing requirements, and removed when no further spam has been received, or when listed parties return a signed undertaking to observe best practice in the sending of commercial e-mail.

The list has been exposing prolific spammers and e-mail address resellers since 2008.

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