20 FEBRUARY 2002

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No ISP code of practice

Almost seven years have elapsed since Internet's first appearance in Malta but to date Internet service providers have not yet adopted a code of practice to protect their customers despite legal obligations to do so.

When asked by The Malta Financial and Business Times a Malta Communications Authority official confirmed that as yet no ISP has adopted and published a code of practice. In order to protect consumers, it is the MCA's responsibility to ensure that providers comply with existing legislation.

The Telecommunications Act and subsequently, the respective licences issued to ISPs, oblige them to draw up, publicise and adopt a code of practice.

Over the years there have been a number of attempts by various entities to get the ISPs in line with their obligations but it seems that the requests have not yielded the desired results.

A code of practice would stipulate the quality of service an Internet user would expect to receive from his service provider. It would also offer consumers adequate protection when it comes to data privacy and dispute resolution.

The MCA official said that eight months ago the Authority initiated discussions with the ISP sub-section of the IT section within the Chamber of Commerce in order for the ISPs to come up with their own code of practice, which would be mutually acceptable to the Authority and the providers.

The official added that despite repeated attempts by the MCA to reach a conclusion the ISP sub-section has not yet come up with a draft code of practice acceptable to the Authority.

"In view of the procrastination by the ISPs, the MCA will have to consider an alternative course of action. It is unfair on ISP customers to remain unprotected by an adequate Code any longer," the official said refraining from elaborating further.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt