The department of trade & industry will release a request for an expression of interest for potential service providers to set up and manage an opt-out registry to complement the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
The department is still in discussions about how the registry will work and whether a private business will be selected to run the service. However, at its basic level, the registry will be a database of consumers who do not want to be contacted on certain communication mediums.
“We are still finalising discussions around who will run the register, but we are leaning towards a private company on this,” says Sipho Tleane, director of legal support at the consumer and corporate regulation division at trade & industry.
He says the purpose of the registry is to allow consumers to block communications that they don’t want, while detailing communications they do want. “Consumers won’t be blocking themselves from everything,” he says.
The registry is good news for consumers who have fallen prey to a wave of SMS and e-mail spam due to the sometimes-illegal exchange of telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Tleane says businesses will still be allowed to build their own marketing information, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses. However, they will now have to crosscheck the details of their lists with the registry to make sure a consumer has not blocked the potential marketing.
“You will not be able to go and get the information from the registry and use it as your marketing database. That will not be allowed,” he says.
Consumers who register will have to provide an ID number, telephone number and e-mail address before they will be added to the list.
Tleane says the expression of interest will also include all the technical requirements the department will need for the registry. — Candice Jones, TechCentral