Privacy policy

The Mail & Guardian Online respect your privacy and is committed to protecting it.

- We recognise your need for appropriate protection and management of personally identifiable information you may share with us (any information by which you can be identified, such as name, address and telephone number).

- In general, you can browse sites without telling us who you are or revealing any personal information about yourself. We do track the internet address of the domains from which people visit us and analyse this data for trends and statistics, but the individual user remains anonymous.

- Some of our web pages use "cookies" so that we can better serve you with more tailored information when you return to our site. "Cookies" are used to enhance your interactive experience and generally improve our service to you. You can set your browser to notify you when you are sent a cookie, giving you the chance to decide whether to accept it.

- We store information you supply in personalising your use of our services.

- We protect information of registered users from outside parties by storing it in a fully secured database.

- In all other cases, the only information we will ever disclose to third parties (such as advertisers) is aggregate information about our users.

- Aggregate information will never identify you. It only identifies the user population in general terms; for example, 52% males visit a particular site. We are not responsible for the privacy practices or the content and/or services of sites linking out of our network or for personally identifiably information made available by you or another third party in or through the Mail & Guardian Online.

Acceptable use policy

General notice

Thank you for reading the Mail & Guardian Online's acceptable use policy (AUP). By accessing this website, or by contracting with us for service, you agree, without limitation or qualification, to be bound by this policy and the terms and conditions it contains, as well as any other additional terms, conditions, rules or policies which are displayed to you in connection with this service/website. The purpose of this AUP is to comply with the relevant laws of the republic; to specify to customers and users of our service/website what activities and online behaviour are considered an unacceptable use of the service/website; to protect the integrity of our network and to specify the consequences that may flow from undertaking such prohibited activities.

This document contains a number of legal obligations with which you are presumed to be familiar. As such, we encourage you to read this document thoroughly and direct any queries to us at Tel: +27 11 250 7300 or by emailing us.

The Mail & Guardian Online respects the rights of our customers and users of our services to freedom of speech and expression; access to information; privacy; human dignity; religion, belief and opinion in accordance with our Constitution. We undertake not to interfere with any of those rights unless required to do so by law; unless those rights are exercised for unlawful purposes; or unless the exercise of those rights threatens to cause harm to another person or affect the integrity of our network.

Code of conduct

The Mail & Guardian Online confirms that in compliance with section 72 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002.

Unlawful use

The Mail & Guardian Online's services/website may only be used for lawful purposes and activities. We prohibit any use of our website/network including the transmission, storage and distribution of any material or content using our network that violates any law or regulation of the republic. This includes:

- Any violation of local and international laws prohibiting child pornography; obscenity; discrimination (including racial, gender or religious slurs) and hate speech; or speech designed to incite violence or hatred, or threats to cause bodily harm.

- Any activity designed to defame, abuse, stalk, harass or physically threaten any individual in the republic or beyond its borders; including any attempt to link to, post, transmit or otherwise distribute any inappropriate or defamatory material.

- Any violation of intellectual property laws including materials protected by local and international copyright, trademarks and trade secrets. Moreover, the Mail & Guardian Online cannot be held liable if you make any unlawful use of any multimedia content accessed through the search facility provided by the Mail & Guardian Online's network, or otherwise available through access to our network, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

- Any violation of the individual's right to privacy, including any effort to collect personal data of third parties without their consent.

- Any fraudulent activity whatsoever, including dubious financial practices, such as pyramid schemes; the impersonation of another subscriber without their consent; or any attempt to enter into a transaction with the Mail & Guardian Online on behalf of another subscriber without their consent.

- Any violation of the exchange control laws of the republic.

- Any activity that results in the sale, transmission or distribution of pirated or illegal software.

- Failing to respond to a request by a recipient of unsolicited mail to be removed from any mailing or direct marketing list and continuing to send unsolicited mail following such a request for removal.

- Where any user resides outside of the republic, permanently or temporarily, such user will be subject to the laws of the country in which she/he is currently resident and which apply. On presentation of a legal order to do so, or under obligation through an order for mutual foreign legal assistance, the Mail & Guardian Online will assist foreign law-enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of a crime committed using the Mail & Guardian Online's resources, including the provisioning of all personal identifiable data.

Prohibited activities

The following sections outline activities that are considered an unacceptable use of the Mail & Guardian Online's services/network/website and detail the guidelines for acceptable use of certain facilities/services, as the case may be.

Threats to network security

Any activity that threatens the functioning, security and/or integrity of the Mail & Guardian Online's network is unacceptable. This includes:

- Any efforts to attempt to gain unlawful and unauthorised access to the network or circumvent any of the security measures established by the Mail & Guardian Online for this goal;

- Any effort to use the Mail & Guardian Online's equipment to circumvent the user authentication or security of any host, network or account ("cracking" or "hacking");

- Forging of any TCP-IP packet header (spoofing) or any part of the header information in an email or a newsgroup posting;

- Any effort to breach or attempt to breach the security of another user or attempt to gain access to any other person's computer, software, or data without the knowledge and consent of such person;

- Any activity that threatens to disrupt the service offered by the Mail & Guardian Online through "denial of service attacks"; flooding of a network; or overloading a service or any unauthorised probes ("scanning" or "nuking") of others' networks;

- Any activity that in any way threatens the security of the network by knowingly posting, transmitting, linking to or otherwise distributing any information or software that contains a virus, Trojan horse, worm, lock, mail bomb, cancelbot or other harmful, destructive or disruptive component.

- Any unauthorised monitoring of data or traffic on the network without the Mail & Guardian Online's explicit, written consent.

- Any unsolicited mass mailing activity including direct marketing; spam and chain letters for commercial or other purposes, without the consent of the recipients of those mails.

Public space and third-party content and sites

In reading this AUP or in signing a service contract with the Mail & Guardian Online, you acknowledge that the Mail & Guardian Online has no power to control the content of the information passing over the internet and its applications, including email and comment areas, and that the Mail & Guardian Online cannot be held responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any of the abovementioned content, in any way for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of, or in connection with your use of, or reliance on, any such content.

Our services also offer access to numerous third-party web pages. You acknowledge that we exercise absolutely no control over such third-party content, or sites and in such cases, our network is merely a conduit or means of access and transmission. This includes, but is not limited to, third-party content contained on or accessible through the Mail & Guardian Online network websites and web pages or sites displayed as search results or contained within a directory of links on the Mail & Guardian Online network. It remains your responsibility to review and evaluate any such content, and that any and all risk associated with the use of, or reliance on, such content rests with you.

Access to public internet spaces, such as moderated comments areas on the Mail & Guardian Online, is entirely voluntary and at your own risk. Mail & Guardian Online employees do not undertake any responsibility for any content contained these services, or your communications, transmissions or use of these services, or for any breaches of your right to privacy that you may experience as a result of accessing such spaces.

Unsolicited, spam and junk mail

Spam and unsolicited bulk mail are highly problematic practices. They affect the use and enjoyment of services by others and often compromise network security. The Mail & Guardian Online will take swift and firm action against any user engaging in any of the following unacceptable practices:

- Sending unsolicited bulk mail for marketing or any other purposes (political, religious or commercial) to people who have not consented to receiving such mail;

- Operating or maintaining mailing lists without the express permission of all recipients listed;

- Failing to promptly remove from lists invalid or undeliverable addresses or addresses of unwilling recipients;

- Using the Mail & Guardian Online's service to collect responses from unsolicited email sent from accounts on other internet hosts or email services, that violate this AUP or the AUP of any other internet service provider;

- Including the Mail & Guardian Online's name in the header or by listing an IP address that belongs to the Mail & Guardian Online in any unsolicited email sent through the Mail & Guardian Online's network or not;

- Failure to secure a customer's mail server against public relay as a protection to themselves and the broader internet community. Public relay occurs when a mail server is accessed by a third party from another domain and utilised to deliver mails, without the authority or consent of the owner of the mail server. Mail servers that are unsecured against public relay often become abused by unscrupulous operators for spam delivery and upon detection such delivery must be disallowed.

The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to examine users' mail servers to confirm that no mails are being sent from the mail server through public relay and the results of such checks can be made available to the user. The Mail & Guardian Online also reserves the right to examine the mail servers of any users using the Mail & Guardian Online's mail servers for "smarthosting" (when the user relays its mail off a Mail & Guardian Online mail server to a mail server of its own) or similar services at any time to ensure that the servers are properly secured against public relay. All relay checks will be done in strict accordance with Mail & Guardian Online privacy policy.

Protection of minors

The Mail & Guardian Online prohibits customers from using the Mail & Guardian Online's service to harm or attempt to harm a minor, including, but not limited to, by hosting, possessing, disseminating, distributing or transmitting material that is unlawful, including child pornography.

Privacy and confidentiality

The Mail & Guardian Online respects the privacy and confidentiality of our customers and users of our service. Please review our privacy policy, which details how we collect and use personal information gathered in the course of operating this service.

User responsibilities

Customers are responsible for any misuse of the Mail & Guardian Online's services that occurs through the customer's account. It is the customer's responsibility to ensure that unauthorised persons do not gain access to or misuse the Mail & Guardian Online's service.

The Mail & Guardian Online urges customers not to reply to unsolicited mail or "spam", not to click on any suggested links provided in the unsolicited mail. Doing so remains the sole responsibility of the customer and the Mail & Guardian Online cannot be held liable for the customer being placed on any bulk mailing lists as a result.

Where the customer has authorised a minor to use any of the Mail & Guardian Online's services or access its websites, you accept that as the parent/legal guardian of that minor, you are fully responsible for: the online conduct of such minor; controlling the minor's access to and use of any services or websites; and the consequences of any misuse by the minor, including but not limited to transactions entered into by the minor using such access. The Mail & Guardian Online cannot be held liable for any business dealings you have with any third parties on the internet, including any vendors, or advertisers found on, or through, the Mail & Guardian Online network.

Further, the Mail & Guardian Online assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any charges you or any user of your account incurs when making purchases or other transactions in this manner. Further, the responsibility for ensuring compliance with all applicable customs and exchange-control laws in connection with any such transactions shall be the customer's.

Notice and take-down procedures

The Mail & Guardian Online confirms that it has a procedure in place for the notice and take-down of illegal material, in compliance with section 77 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002.

For further details contact:
Postal address:
PO Box 91667,
Auckland Park, 2006

Physical address:
Grosvenor Corner,
195 Jan Smuts Avenue,
Rosebank, 2193

Telephone: +27 11 250 7300
Fax: +27 11 250 7502
E-mail: [email protected]

Complaints and procedures

It is the customer's responsibility to familiarise himself or herself with the procedure set out below and report any cases of violation of this AUP to the Mail & Guardian Online's designated complaints-handling agent.Please note that the Mail & Guardian Online cannot handle complaints concerning networks or users that do not have service contracts with us or our affiliates, or are outside of our control.In order for the Mail & Guardian Online to investigate the complaint thoroughly and take appropriate action, all complaints must be in writing, via fax or e-mail and contain as much information as possible, including, but not limited to:

- The origin of abuse or offence, including the website, full mail headers, relevant log-file extracts etc.;

- Any contact details for the source of the complaint;

- A brief explanation why the incident is considered to be an offence. The Mail & Guardian Online discourages anonymous complaints being made via this service, and urge complainants to supply their name and contact details to us. Such information will not be released, except where required by law enforcement. Anonymous complaints will however be acted upon as long as sufficient detail as outlined above is supplied.

Action following breach of the AUP
Upon receipt of a complaint, or having become aware of an incident, the Mail & Guardian Online may take any of the following steps:

- In the case of a network, inform the user's network administrator of the incident and request the network administrator or network owner to deal address the incident in terms of this AUP;

- In severe cases suspend access of the user's entire network until abuse can be prevented by appropriate means;

- In the case of individual users, warn the user; suspend the user's account and/or revoke or cancel the user's network access privileges completely;

- In both cases, charge the offending parties for administrative costs as well as for machine and human time lost due to the incident;

- Assist other networks or website administrators in investigating credible suspicions of any activity listed in this AUP;

- Institute civil or legal proceedings;

- Share information concerning the incident with other internet access providers, or publish the information, and/or make available the users' details to law enforcement agencies.

Reservation and non-waiver of rights

The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to amend or alter this policy at any time, and without notice to you. The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to take action against any individuals, companies or organisations that violate any of the prohibited activities set out herein, or engage in any illegal or unlawful activity while accessing our services, to the fullest extent of the law.

The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to act against other types of abuse not listed in this document and to investigate or prevent illegal activities being committed over our network. The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to monitor user and network traffic for site security purposes and prevent any unauthorised attempts to tamper with our site or cause damage to our property.

The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to suspend, revoke or cancel the Mail & Guardian Online's services to the customer/user if the safety and integrity of the Mail & Guardian Online's resources are placed at risk in continuing to provide service to the subscriber/user.

The Mail & Guardian Online reserves the right to remove any information or materials in whole or in part, that, in the Mail & Guardian Online's sole discretion, is deemed to be offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable.The Mail & Guardian Online does not undertake to guarantee the security of any data passing through its networks.

Although the Mail & Guardian Online will provide a "best effort" service, including regular updates on computer viruses and other threats to security of data, it is the responsibility of the communicating parties to safeguard their data, and the Mail & Guardian Online cannot be held liable for any loss or damage arising as result of the failure to do so. The Mail & Guardian Online does not waive its right to enforcement of this AUP at any time, or prejudice its right to take subsequent action, should the Mail & Guardian Online fail, neglect or elect not to enforce a breach of the AUP at any time.