New CIPC website exposes private information: complaint

MyBroadband has received a complaint that the new Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website exposes the private information and confidential documentation of all tickets in the system.

“I’ve just visited the website, logged in, and opened a ticket, only to discover I was able to view all tickets – new and resolved,” a CIPC user informed MyBroadband.

“I could and am still able to view confidential documents attached to tickets submitted by various people,” he said.

“I’ve deleted a ticket I’ve opened because it’s unsecured and I’d rather not have my request open for anyone to view.”

He also furnished MyBroadband with screenshots showing the tickets which were accessible to him.

MyBroadband tried to alert the CIPC to the possible security and privacy problem, but was initially unable to reach the company.

The helpdesk number worked, albeit with very poor voice quality. However, the call was not answered.

The following message played over and over again, without any progress: “We apologise for the delay in answering your call due to the high volume of calls we are experiencing at the moment. We value your call, and will transfer you to the first available customer consultant shortly”.

MyBroadband also alerted the CIPC about the security concerns using email, and CIPC CTO Andre Kritzinger quickly responded saying that they are looking into the issue.

CIPC ticket system
CIPC ticket system
CIPC website tickets
CIPC website tickets

Many complaints about the CIPC website

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said recently that the new CIPC website did not live up to its promise “Don’t call, Don’t queue”.

“Users are reporting that they have been unable to register new businesses online since the site launched, as it freezes as soon as new applications are submitted,” the DA said.

“Similarly, the submission process for company annual returns, and company name applications, works only intermittently.”

The DA added that the website’s non-performance has not only resulted in extended call times and queues, but adds to the difficulty of starting a business in South Africa.

“The DA has received hundreds of complaints in the last few days from frustrated entrepreneurs, accountants, and small business service providers who cannot access any CIPC services via the new website,” the party said at the end of September 2014.

On 30 September 2014 the CIPC acknowledged that “there appear to be problems with slow response times on director changes and company registration”.

“To deal with this, the CIPC has put in place a number of changes over the past two weeks, including increasing the bandwidth that it has and, most recently, increasing the storage and memory on its infrastructure,” the organisation said.

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New CIPC website exposes private information: complaint