Gauteng Gambling Board ISP Battle Begins

Published Thursday, October 14, 2010 -

In South Africa the battle is on for the online gambling industry.  The High Court ruled in August that online gambling was illegal, the Gauteng Gambling Board  issued a statement saying anyone who "facilitates the provision of online gambling", which included  Internet service providers who could face fines of up to R10 million.

Those ISP's have decided they will fight back in order to maintain their companies bottom line. Internet service providers are complaining they must spend millions on new infrastructure and systems in order to comply with the courts ruling. They also maintain that it is not within their jurisdiction to police the internet contents. There is an appeal to be heard, although it is not known when the matter is scheduled in Bloemfontein.

Internet service providers are protected by South African mainly because they are regarded as carriers and not content providers by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

Vox Telecom chief commercial officer Murray Steyn says asking ISPs to censor traffic would be unconstitutional, and violates the rules set out by the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act.

Steyn adds, should the board hold the ISP's accountable, it would place a "massive burden" on service providers. "We would have to search the content of all of our customers' communications to make sure no online gambling had taken place."

The cost of monitoring would cut the smaller providers from the marketplace making for a less competitive market and higher costs for the consumer. Vox Telecom would fight any imposition put upon them by the Gauteng Gambling Board but through the Internet Service Providers' Association.

Various operators in South Africa have voice practical and realistic approaches to the issue. There is a mounting movement against the Gauteng Gambling Board and it's decision to hold ISP's responsible for censoring online gambling content.






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