Waspa, the association that represents and self-regulates South Africa’s wireless content and applications industry, has overhauled its code of conduct in an effort to simplify and to ensure it’s in line with the Consumer Protection Act and the new Protection of Personal Information Act.
The code of conduct is meant to keep member wireless application service providers (Wasps) in line and to protect consumers from abuse, including spam and mobile subscription services they didn’t ask to join. Waspa has 275 members.
The overhauled code of conduct is a “completely new document to govern the way Waspa members interact with South Africa’s cellular users”, the organisation says.
It has merged its advertising rules with the code to produce a single regulatory document.
The new code of conduct was ratified on 26 May. Waspa members were given 90 days to become accustomed to it by being allowed to operate according to either an older version of the code or the new one until the old one fell away this week.
This grace period allowed Wasps to train compliance staff to ensure they are aware of the provisions of the new code, notify clients and also adjust marketing efforts to bring advertising in line with the code, the association says.
Significantly, the section of the code dealing with subscription services has been revamped to make it clearer and to align it with the cellular network operators’ “double opt-in” process that protects users from being subscribed to services without their express permission.
According to Waspa chairman Casper de Villiers, the number of consumer complaints to Waspa is just 25% of what it was a year ago, thanks mainly to the double opt-in rule. Changes to the Waspa code of conduct over that period have also helped to some extent, he says.
Waspa management committee member James McNab says many clauses in the code have been deleted because they’re no longer relevant or were too complex.
McNab explains that self-regulation of the industry has worked well, especially since the mobile operators require Wasps to be members of an industry body before they can provide services over their networks. Waspa, which is the only association representing the industry, has expelled three members for non-compliance with its code of conduct. Others have been reprimanded or fined when infringements have occurred. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media