[telecom] Why your cell phone is ripe for spam texts in 2012

Why your cell phone is ripe for spam texts in 2012

By Nancy Scola June 1, 2012

In the late 1970s, the cutting edge of communications technologies was the autodialer, a machine capable of calling up scores of people in one shot, with little human involvement. It was innovative, and annoying. By the early '90s, Congress had had enough. "Computerized calls," railed South Carolina Democrat Fritz Hollings from the Senate floor, "are the scourge of modern civilization."

And so, Congress legislated. But the focus was on commercial calls. Mindful of the free flow of speech and - let's be honest - interested in self-preservation, lawmakers exempted political calls from its Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act. But Congress decided that some phones were too sensitive to get even autodialed political calls: those in hospitals, those designated for emergency purposes - and those in our pockets.

But here we are, some two decades later, and voters across the country are getting political text messages they never asked for.


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Reply to
Monty Solomon
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Please permit me again to suggest a simple action by the cellcos which would cut doen this, as well as other spam-text msgs, by a hefty percentage.

The cellcos currently "offer" (in quotes because they don't make it obvious...), for the most part, two options:

a: receive all texts/SMS b: block everything.

What they could do, just about tomorrow... is add in a few other choices:

a: recve all texts/SMS b: receive _only_ those sent from a _cellular phone account_ in a recognized carrier [1] c: only those from people on the same carrier you are d: block everything.

[1] the trick here is that just about all spam text-sms is transmitted via an e-mail -> cellphone gateway. Most carriers offer this via something like sending to: snipped-for-privacy@cellularcarrier.demo and just like with all e-mail, it's trivial to kick out thousands at a clip.

Blocking (at customer's request) msgs coming in through those gateways, thus limiting spam to folk who actually punch in through cellphone pads [2] would just about end this issue

[2] yes, there are ways to send a thousand msgs through a cellphone account, but it would be trivial for any cellco to block that process.
Reply to
danny burstein

Your experience is different than mine. The phone spam that I get is usually either from a five digit code or sometimes from a "legitimate" (I use that in parenthesis since I'm not sure what if anything's legitimate about it since voice calls to the number usually end up with getting a SIT and the no such number recording.) But the reason I don't get any "email" related cellphone spam is that if anyone wishes to reach me via email on my mobile phone I have an "alias" that I set up on my operator's web site so that any email sent to [10-digits]@tmomail.net goes into the ether and I never know about it nor am I charged for receiving such drek. That's not to say that it's not a problem since it most surely is a problem and doesn't seem to be a high priority for the mobile operators to fix. I also use a feature that I found on

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that lets anyone call me without actually knowing my number by typing that URL (followed by four characters) to reach me.

Reply to
Joseph Singer

Not any more. There are much higher capacity ways to stuff SMS into the phone network. I was talking to someone who does abuse management for a large carrier who tells me the problems he's had explaining to people in retail stores that if someone comes in and wants to buy two dozen prepaid SIMs, don't sell them to him.

R's, John

Reply to
John Levine

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