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SMS spam insanity - Jerith online [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
jerith

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SMS spam insanity [Apr. 10th, 2008|04:42 pm]
jerith
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I received the following SMS today:
Need airtime?Buy it with your Visa or Visa Electron card at most supermarkets. No need to draw cash- U get 1 eXactcredit-To stop msgs,sms STOP SMS to 32227(R1)

Firstly, this is pure spam. Secondly, they want to charge me to use a premium service to remove myself from their list. This is, to me, completely unacceptable.

I did some research. It turns out that there is an organisation called WASPA that deals with Wireless Application Providers. Their list of members includes eXactmobile, which seems to fit the message ("eXactcredit"). They also have a code of conduct, from which I have copied the (abridged) relevant part:
5. Commercial communications

5.1. Sending of commercial communications

5.1.1. All commercial messages must contain a valid originating number and/or the name or identifier of the message originator.

5.1.2. Any message originator must have a facility to allow the recipient to remove his or herself from the message originator’s database, so as not to receive any further messages from that message originator.

5.1.3. Any mechanism for allowing a recipient to remove him or herself from a database must not cost more than one rand.

5.1.7. Upon request of the recipient, the message originator must, within a reasonable period of time, identify the source from which the recipient’s personal information was obtained.

5.2.1. Any commercial message is considered unsolicited (and hence spam) unless:

1. the recipient has requested the message;
2. the message recipient has a direct and recent prior commercial relationship with the message originator and would reasonably expect to receive marketing communications from the originator; or
3. the organisation supplying the originator with the recipient’s contact information has the recipient’s explicit consent to do so.

5.3.1. Members will not send or promote the sending of spam and will take reasonable measures to ensure that their facilities are not used by others for this purpose.

5.3.2. Members will provide a mechanism for dealing expeditiously with complaints about spam originating from their networks.

This message is definitely spam and, although the opt-out message meets the WASPA requirements, I see a paid unsubscribe mechanism as extortion.

I have contacted both eXactmobile and WASPA (the latter because I am not entirely certain that eXactmobile is the culprit). Updates when I hear from them.

Update: eXactmobile phoned me, and have removed my number from their db. It turns out that I was in there because I signed up for something five years ago and didn't uncheck the "you're allowed to send me crap" button. Go figure. Bonus points to WASPA for sorting it out quickly.
LinkReply

Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2008-04-11 11:57 am (UTC)

Self regulating industries

I've recently had (yet another) problem with phone call spam, despite being listed on the DMA (http://www.dmasa.org/)'s Do Not Contact list (http://www.dmasa.org/core/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74&Itemid=68).

This organisation is similar to WASPA in that they are created by the industry in order to protect users. The reason they try to protect users is to pacify the noisy ones so that legislation is not passed which may be stricter than their rules.

The biggest problem with these organisations is that there is no, if any, penalty to contravening their rules. You complain, they investigate, say "whoops" and move on.

Yes, the amount of SMS and direct-marketing I receive is minimal, but, in my opinion, there is no alternative to legislation which forbids the resale of my personal data without my consent, and/or contacting me without my explicit consent. No matter via which medium.

/2c
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