Here’s an interesting one.
I was contacted by my hosting provider this morning about an ISPA Take-Down Notice (TDN) regarding a post from 2009 on 6000 miles…
Now, first off, let me say that I fully understand that my hosting provider has signed up to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of South Africa, and as part of that, they are obliged to follow the rules of that organisation. Those rules state that when a TDN is issued against a site that they host, they must ask that site to remove (take down) the content, and in the event of the site not doing so, “disable the whole site”.
I mean, it’s completely over the top, but that’s what they agreed to, and (presumably) that’s what I agreed to when I signed up with them.
What alarms me is the way in which the ISPA handles these requests: basically, you can force removal of any content on any South African hosted website simply by filling in a form. No evidence required.
Literally, all that the ISPA will do with that form is to check that you filled in all the fields, make sure that the ISP involved is in their association and decide whether the remedial action requested is feasible (e.g. “take down a post” vs. “set light to all the servers in Johannesburg”).
They will then pass it on to the ISP concerned, who are bound by the terms of their ISPA membership to act upon it, and that’s how anyone can fill in an online form and have the content of any SA-hosted website without question.
The ISPA even boast about how successful their policy is:
In approximately 95% of all cases, lodging a valid take-down notice results in the removal of that content.
“Valid” in this case meaning that you fulfilled those three criteria above, not that the reasons for your request have any veracity or are in any way reasonable.
Of course, as the website owner, you can contest the notice, but notably only after you have taken down the content in question:
If you wish to contest this take-down, you will first need to comply with it and then take this up with the complainant, who’s [sic] information is supplied below, should they not be compliant in finding an amicable solution you then will need to make this a legal matter and address it in court.
Given that the post in question here is about a guy whose company tried to rip me (and it would seem, plenty of other people as well) off for (in some cases) several tens of thousands of Rands (and is apparently still at it), I can’t see this “amicable solution” happening.
And is the legal thing really worth it? Only if it’s sponsored by someone with a lot of time and money, I suppose. Does anyone have any experience of fighting these sort of cases – please get in touch (Email: 6…@6…o.za).
Looks like the only way immediate way around this is to host the “offending” content somewhere away from the unreasonably draconian paws of the South African ISPA then.
Like… I dunno… Google Drive for example.
MAYBE I WAS A BIT TOO SUBTLE HERE.
CLICK THE GOOGLE DRIVE LINK TO SEE THE DELETED POST!