MPs debate anti-spam bill

2012-09-11 22:16

Cape Town - Cold calls, spam e-mails and unsolicited telephone offers could soon be a thing of the past if the protection of personal information bill becomes law.

Introducing debate on the bill in National Assembly on Tuesday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said it protected consumers from the unlawful use of personal information.

He cited ways in which a lack of privacy concerning personal information was affecting citizens.

"Unprotected personal information may lead to identity theft, credit card fraud, stalking, the proliferation of unsolicited pornography, spam and market manipulation practices."

But the minister warned the right to privacy was not absolute.

"In protecting a person's personal information, consideration should also be given to competing interests such as the administering of national social programmes, maintaining law and order and protection of the rights, interests and freedoms of others."

The chairperson of a technical team which helped draft the bill, ANC MP John Jeffrey, said the bill would establish an independent information regulator.

"This implementation [by the regulator] includes education and research, but also monitoring and enforcement compliance, and the handling of complaints."

Jeffrey said sectors like the media industry would be encouraged to regulate themselves by drawing up codes of conduct for the processing of information. The regulator may then approve these codes.

"With a few exceptions, crimes are only committed when a party does not abide by an enforcement notice issued by the regulator, and an aggrieved party has the right to take the enforcement notice on review to a high court... it's only if you don't comply or don't appeal to court, and if you continue to process the information, that you would be guilty of a crime."

DA MP Dene Smuts described the bill as the "best of the best".

"Our e-mail addresses, our cellphone numbers, our transactional history, our financial details, are constantly offered for sale.

She explained that currently consumers needed to opt-out when they were spammed. Under the new bill, a marketer was only allowed to contact a consumer once to obtain consent for future contact.

Smuts said those who unscrupulously procured, disclosed and sold bank account numbers would become criminals liable for a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

"We have seen just one consumer too many... often poor ones, suddenly find debit orders running off their bank account, whose details they never supplied, for services or products they did not order, or which they were duped into signing for."

Smuts said consumers were often told the banking details were obtained from a national consumer database, which actually did not exist.

  • margo.vorster - 2012-09-11 22:53


  • margo.vorster - 2012-09-11 22:56

    We get bombarded with spam emails, spam smsses, cold calls and junk mail daily! Please make it stop. I don't like being rude to people, but it's the only way to get rid of them !

      shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-09-12 08:14

      LOL agreed - I had a cold caller 1 day trying to sell me something & I kept saying - NO THANK YOU and she kept saying - I understand but... So after the third or fourth BUT.. I replied with a : Oh so you DO understand? then understand this........... F&*CK OFF!

  • lionel.defrontignac - 2012-09-12 04:37

    What a waste of time! Another toothless law, I will still be getting appeals from widows who need help with lots of money held up in Nigerian Banks. This government should be focusing on real issues like jobs, education and health. We are not a First world Country. And why does News24 call this a "debate"???? Those parasites in Parliament only know how to fleece us with S&T claims.

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-12 05:22

    Excellent news. When I book in to an hotel or give information for a delivery to my home then the person I give that information to has no right to use if for any purpose other than that I tendered the information for. I am tired of receiving unsolicited spam from sources I have given this information to. I maintain multiple gmail and yahoo accounts which I use for these transactions as it solves the spam email problem. Cell number misuse is much more difficult to counter. The media will not properly self-regulate this issue. Just make it a criminal offence - finish and klaar.

  • petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2012-09-12 06:25

    Finally, one thing that has the power to unite the whole South Africa more than the world cups. EVERYBODY hates the idiots that send you sms's, offering you cellphones. How am I reading this, if not on a cellphone already. My insurance is good enough, I don't want to waste 20 mins getting an online quote saving me R10 a month, and pay double the excess that I do now. Not to mention the time I won the UK lottery and had to pay R5000 to get my money.

  • konfab - 2012-09-12 07:04

    Does the anti-spam bill include clauses for eggs,bacon and Vikings?

  • konfab - 2012-09-12 07:04

    Does the anti-spam bill include clauses for eggs,bacon and Vikings?

      syd.harling - 2012-09-12 08:01

      And by that you mean???????????

  • syd.harling - 2012-09-12 07:57

    Fantastic idea. Strangely, after having to do the stupid RICA thing I started getting spam mails on my mobile. RICA is stupid anyway - I recently bought a sim card in England from a vending machine!

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-09-12 08:17

    AT last! Yeah agreed there are more pressing issues in this country, but I can state that I receive spam emails daily and they can be anywhere from 4 to 38 A DAY................ As for the phone calls from MTN trying to sell me a contract when i am CLEARLY on Vodacom, EISH

  • philip.mostert.14 - 2012-09-12 08:23

    It will cause allot of people to loose work

  • Hanno Bekker - 2012-09-12 08:30

    My big question relates to Lloyd's comment. How will it be enforced? I mean if it can't be enforced, then it is the same as a previous act that prohibits VOIP. It was cancelled but still!

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