Senators Want To Ban SMS Spam

from the thx-4-the-gd-idea dept

While there have been lots of attempts to ban spam email (some less effective than others), text-message spam sent to mobile phones has largely escaped legislative scrutiny. The CAN SPAM Act bans sending spam emails to phones, but it doesn't specifically address SMS. An Arizona court ruled earlier legislation covering autodialed telemarking calls also banned SMS spam, but that decision didn't seem particularly solid. Other countries, like India, have extended their Do Not Call lists to cover SMS spam, and now a couple of US senators have introduced legislation that would do the same here. SMS spam hasn't become a huge problem in the US for a number of reasons, mainly because it costs spammers more than email spam, while it's also generally easier to track down those who sent it than with email. Still, it's nice to see a law seeking to get out ahead of something so annoying, rather than waiting until the cat's out of the bag and it's an uncontrollable situation.


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  1.  
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    CleverName, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    I'll toss the phone

    Dont expect much help from the cell phone companies if they are making money off the spam.

    Landlines have reached the point where spam can be the deciding factor whether to ditch it. I've heard people say that landlines are worthless anyways, why pay for spam?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Re: I'll toss the phone

    More and more cell phone companies have all you can eat SMS plans for a nominal (usually around $20) for free, therefore it is in their best interest to stop text messages that eat bandwidth that the customer doesn't want in the 1st place. Of course they make money for the people that do not have an all you can eat plan, but if the market is anything like my group of friends there should be more all you can eat text message plans then the pay per text message plans. Cell phone companies, I think, would love to see this type of law passed so their costs wouldn't go through the roof - 'cause right now it is relatively cheap.

     

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  3.  
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    Rob Friedman, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 7:08pm

    PrePaid Plans

    Those of us on PrePaid mobile plans get f'd with a service fees whenever we get SMS spam, or unwanted automated "advertisement", "special Notice", phone calls.

    I'm really pissed off that some Jerk wasted $0.20 of my money each time SMS happens and I don't want it. I'd care less if the incoming messages were FREE as they used to be before becoming mainstream and over priced.

    Now that the companies charge for SMS they have no incentive to work for customers to help with spam issues. It's a WIN for them.

     

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  4.  
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    D Mac (profile), Apr 7th, 2009 @ 9:07pm

    You guys get billed for incoming SMS?

    You guys get billed for incoming SMS? How can they justify billing you for something that you have zero control over? (you can choose to answer a call or not, but you can't choose not to receive a text)

    SMS Spam should be illegal but so should billing for things that are 100% outside of your control.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    People use my domain names to send spam. Lately someone has been using one for SMS spam. The replies bypass my spam filter. Out of the 100 responses I've read, it's most "fuck off", "who are you?" and "stop texting me". There's been 3 that say "yes, I'd like to buy your viagra" and "do you sell fleshlights".

     

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  6.  
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    hegemon13, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: I'll toss the phone

    The only problem with that theory is that while the spammer may have an unlimited plan, most of the recipients don't, and thus pay for each spam message. If a spammer sends a message to 1000 people, the tiny amount of bandwidth it takes is nothing compared to the amount the carrier makes from the 900 people who have to pay for receiving that message. A text message is such a tiny amount of data (up to 256 characters @ 1 byte each + message container = no more than 300 bytes) that it would take impossibly huge spam networks to have any effect on bandwidth.

     

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  7.  
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    hegemon13, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: You guys get billed for incoming SMS?

    What's worse is when a company starts fraudulently billing your account. I had some offshore "ring tone" company start billing my Sprint account every month. I've never purchased a ring tone in my life. When I called Sprint to get rid of the charges, they claimed there was nothing they could do, and that I could not even de-authorize future charges to my OWN ACCOUNT. They said that I must have given the company my phone number, and that having my phone number authorized the company to bill my account. WTF? It's a PHONE NUMBER! You know, that thing you have to give to people so they can call you. Sprint said I had to contact this offshore company (for which Sprint had no contact information) and have them stop billing me. So, I asked them to transfer me to the account cancellation department, and I switched to another carrier.

    So, yeah, they have no problem billing you for things out of your control, even when you explicitly state you do not want the service, and you do not want your account to be billable by outside companies.

     

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  8.  
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    Crashoverride, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    I can see where this can create larger problems. My local Pizzeria with my permission sends me a text message when the driver leaves the store alerting me my pizza is ready. This is a great cool feature. Because I have given them permission and my cell phone number they also send me an occasional message free bread sticks with every order tonight only etc... Now say I move and I'm too lazy to update the store does that mean I can sue them for sending me messages just because I'm on the do not call list???

     

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