South Africa is one of the countries with takes the hardest stands against SPAM, and while reported spammers can be subject to international fines - it is the enthusiasm of local attorneys which spammers should be concerned about most as some companies preferred to deal with SPAM in court instead of through their ISPs.
Digital communication in South Africa is governed by the Electronic Communications And Transactions Act of 2002 which states the following:
- Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to consumers, must provide the consumer with:
- the option to cancel his or her subscription to the mailing list of that person; and
- the identifying particulars of the source from which that person obtained the consumer's personal information, on request of the consumer.
- No agreement is concluded where a consumer has failed to respond to an unsolicited communication.
- Any person who fails to comply with or contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to the penalties prescribed in section 89(1).
- Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to a person who has advised the sender that such communications are unwelcome, is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to the penalties prescribed in section 89(1).
Even so, while South African law is slightly behind the international giants, all the international companies that supply bandwidth to the hosting companies in South Africa are governed by international laws such as the CANSPAM Act in the U.S.A., which through their necessity to comply with these laws consequently causes them to enforce those same laws on hosting companies in South Africa.
In a nutshell, what this means is that South Africa complies with international SPAM regulations.
These international standards are more strict that our local laws and requires, for instance, that when a spam complaint is made against someone, that person must then supply proof that the recipients of their mails had given them authorization to send them commercial e-mails in the first place. If they cannot supply proof they will be fine, and those fines can get quite large.
As local hosting companies cannot afford to be blacklisted internationally, every SPAM complaint sent to them has the follow the above-mentioned process and will be dealt with as prescribed by international standards.
SPAM WARNING TEMPLATE:
Here is an example of an e-mail you can send to anyone sending you unsolicited commercial e-mails:
To whom it may concern,
Since this is a commercial message, and since I have not requested to be placed on your mailing list, this message constitutes an unsolicited communication in terms of section 45 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (Act 25 of 2002).
In terms of section 45(4) of this Act, this message serves as notification that I do not wish to receive any further communications from you. Failure to comply with this request constitutes a criminal offence in terms of the ECT Act.
Additionally, I hereby request that you immediately disclose where you obtained my contact details, as per section 45(1) of the ECT Act. Failure to respond to this request also constitutes a criminal offence.
Should you wish to familiarize yourself with the relevant legislation, or check my facts, a copy of the ECT Act is available on-line via the Government's web site:
Your co-operation in this matter will be appreciated,