Lawyers air conflicting ECT Act views
By Paul Vecchiato
Date: October 13, 2003
Cape Town | ITWeb, 13 October 2003] - A local law firm has criticised “misleading” comments in the weekend press that people who have their accounts hacked have the right to be refunded by the banks.
Steven Ferguson of commercial law firm Nicci Ferguson was reacting to a Sunday newspaper report quoting e-lawyer Reinhardt Buys as saying the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act forces banks and other businesses offering online payment systems to refund customers if it can be proved they did not provide a safe service.
But, Ferguson asks, just what is a safe system? He says that according to the ECT Act (Section 43 (5)), the system must be sufficiently secure with regard to the generally accepted technological standards at the time of the transactions and the type of transaction involved.
“SA's big four commercial banks are utilising First World security tools and software to protect online transactions. Victims of Internet banking fraud will be hard pressed to prove that such technology falls short of generally accepted standards,” he says.
Ferguson also says methods and types of attacks or scams evolve on a daily basis, usually outpacing the security measures employed to counter them. “What is sufficient today may not be sufficient tomorrow,” he says.
His suggestion is that the only way to avoid loss is for both parties to work together. “The banks must ensure their systems keep up to speed with the methods and developing technologies used by online criminals. The clients, in turn, must ensure they follow best practice and take responsibility for securing their own systems,” says Ferguson.
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