FCC takes up text message spam

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The legality of text message spam depends on who you ask.


The mobile industry’s at war over cellular privacy—or free speech—depending on how you look at it.

The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday that it’s accepting comments on a petition that seeks to have Internet-to-phone text messaging declared a type of autodialing. The technology, which collects cell numbers without consent and then messages them via created email addresses, isn’t currently covered under the Technology Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and some consider it a loophole for those who want to spam your cellphone.  

Scott Goodstein, founder of the mobile firm Revolution Messaging, filed the petition back in January of this year, but it wasn’t until this week that the FCC offered any signal it may move on the request. Goodstein says he’s out to protect the privacy of mobile users and put a stop to spammers.

A recent example of the practice comes out of the hotly contested Virginia Senate race between former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) and former Sen. George Allen (R). Thousands of voters were on the receiving end of anonymous messages claiming Kaine wanted to impose a "radical tax." Kaine's camp labeled the messages "dirty campaign tricks" and has asked Virginia's Attorney General to investigate.  

Until yesterday, the FCC had been mum on political text message spam since issuing an enforcement advisory back in September, which warned that sending unsolicited political messages to cell phones is illegal under the TCPA, unless prior consent is given.   

In a statement released by his company, Goodstein said he is "excited to finally see a clear end to the mass amount of political text message spam that keeps creeping up in the final days of a heated election.” He expressed some optimism that the FCC’s decision to expedite the petition will mean “an end to unsolicited text messages."

On the opposite side of the issue is Gabriel Joseph, president of ccAdvertising. Joseph tells C&E that his firm intends to submit a comment to the FCC in response to Goodstein’s petition, and he says banning the technology his firm uses to send political text messages would amount to a violation of free speech.

Joseph declined to talk about any of his clients, but calls Goodstein’s FCC petition nothing more than an attempt to “take away Americans’ free speech rights that are now protected by current law, FCC regulations and the Constitution of the United States.” He contends that email-to-phone text messages are perfectly legal, pointing to the CAN-SPAM Act guide put out by the FCC in May of last year.

“If the FCC is allowed to start down the path of restricting free speech rights for emails, now protected by the CAN-SPAM law, where will they stop?” Joseph says. “Will Gmail, Hotmail, Comcast, Cox and other email providers be affected as well? We believe the answer is yes.”  

Joseph is prepared to go to court to defend his right to contact your cell phone and argues Goodstein is neglecting part of the law. Tacked onto the end of the TCPA’s list of off-limits lines is “any service for which the called party is charged for the call.”

“[W]e conclude that the TCPA did not intend to prohibit autodialer or prerecorded message calls to cellular customers for which the called party is not charged,” according to a written statement from the company laying out its interpretation of the law. In an earlier interview with C&E, Joseph claimed that ccAdvertising has developed new technology that can determine who a contact’s carrier is in advance.

“There’s not one carrier out there that doesn’t charge like a landline, and if you’re charged like a landline you get the benefits of a landline,” said Joseph.

It's a gross overstatement according to Goodstein, who notes that millions of Americans are on prepaid plans, pay-as-you-go plans and limited budgets. Goodstein says there's only one way to interpret what Joseph's company is doing -- it's illegal.

“[Joseph] seems to change his story about either how great his secret sauce technology is, how he’s using a specific mechanic to not dial numbers in a certain way, to a First Amendment argument, to now just blatantly saying, ‘I don’t care that users are being charged because, quite frankly, most people have unlimited text plans or unlimited plans,” Goodstein says.

“He has no secret sauce technology,” he says. “He has giant cojones to go against and slap the FCC and TCPA in the face.”

Joseph says he’ll resist any FCC effort to restrict the law, noting that some members of his legal team are former FCC chairmen.

“If they have to regulate calls to 479 million people then we’ve got a problem in our country,” he says. “Am I worried about taking on a free speech case in this era of Citizens United? No.”

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4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
Cesskye


Does free speech include a company or individual sending me unsolicited text messages, I am powerless to block? At least I can hang up from a phone call but an unsolicited text message is so invasive and irritating. Some people only use text messaging for important notices. Spam message are far from important.


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barry1817


What part of congress shall make no law regarding free speech doesn't this department understand


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dave


If the FCC wants to tackle the problem, they should destroy the telecom monopolies. The insider dealing keeps prices at ridiculous levels. SMS/MMS is one of the oldest and the most ubiquitous pieces of software in use around the world today. How is it that text messages are still a separate cost or even a cost at all? It literally costs them nothing to maintain, because they profit so much. It is one facet of the monopoly by the telecom companies that must be exposed. The way they're allowed to fabricate taxes and fees is amazing. A mobile phone should cost about $20 a month for unlimited everything.


Remember when AOL used to give you minutes? Remember how that just didn't last very long? After a few years they were finally just sending out discs saying "UNLIMITED MINUTES" because people were getting angry about how absurd it is to pay for something 3 times. You'd pay for the phone line, then the service, then overages if you went beyond your allotted minutes.. sound familiar?


They took the AOL model and ran with it. As insane as people seem to be about their stupid phones, they should be filling the streets about this monopoly.


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SonofaCV15


Hey! FCC!


Keep your grimey hands off my iPhone.


Sent from my iPad


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Mike


I dont see this as a freedom of speech issue. They are free to speak, but I also have a choice of whether I will listen. If I dont want the message, I should have a choice whether or not I want to receive it. I'm all for laws that give consumers choice, especially when some people have per text fees. I shouldnt incur a fee for some text spammer to send me a message that I more than likely do not want. Nor should I be powerless to stop them. Its harassment.


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Brian


His , Mr. Jospehs,right to free speech ends at my front door and I consider my phone an extension of my home. If you enter without my consent you are trespassing.


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Shi


You say you don't care! That's nice, you can afford it. Some don't have txt on their accounts like my parents. Others are limited and pay extra for their plans , AT&T, Verizon, TMobil etc. I will chose who to vote for by research, and how to shop by my likes. Leave my hard earned cell phone alone. You don't pay for it.


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ChrisC


This is NOT a "free spech" issue at all! It's about unwanted advertising! IMO telling these people that they have NO RIGHT to send me unwanted messages is no different than putting up a "No Soliciting" sign on a home or business! I truly hope this passes and that these companoies are prohibited from continuing to do this sort of thing!


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Dann0


Phones can be modified to filter spam just like computers. The FCC has no business imposing itself on this issue.


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david7134


Any law to block telemarketers is fine with me. In fact, they should be executed.


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DJH


This has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with free speech, it's the argument of an intellectual coward. That argument wont pass the smell test if this ends up in court, his free speech wouldn't be limited at all - there is no Constitutional right to force someone to pay to receive marketing materials or communications they didn't ask for.


'Cold texting' someones cell costs THEM MONEY, regardless of their plan you have still decided you have a right to use a portion of their plan, if not cost them outright, so they can receive marketing texts they didn't ask for to your benefit.
Yeah, you're a real patriot scumbag!


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Sovereignty Soldier


While I do not like texted spam, more so I do not like government intrusion in my life. I do not need anything more than an opt out or do not call list. FCC, please stay out of my life!


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jeff m


Makes sense -- the CAN-SPAM act was so successful at limiting email spam. [rolling eyes]


This is about censorship, pure and simple.


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Jeff


The FCC must regulate TXT messaging. If they wont, then the cell phone carriers must enforce their Terms of Service and litigate those who abuse their service. Stealling is Stealing, and these bozos should be prosecuted and sent to jail.


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TOM F


Free speech does not include invading privacy. I "paid" for privacy with my cell phone, texting and all message services. If I receive an app over a smart phone, use of that free app is not free, the creator of the app must pay for the apps creation, and includes pop-ups.... perfect relationship. It does not give the right of the app creator to sell or spam my private number all over the place, nor does my free e-mail suggest I've given up a my privacy in other areas or give access to my cell phone. The contract is for free services that are adverting enhanced, which the free provider is already getting paid for though its advertisers. If I buy a loaf of bread and take it home, does this now allow the bread maker to sell my address and phone information? No!


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Tom G.


FCC bureaucrats have been desperate to justify their bloated budget by trying to assume control of the Internet and now text messages. They have no useful function and should be disbanded and their funding stripped. Time for this worthless government agency to go the way of the Dodo.


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Yirmin Snipe


Unsolicited text messages cost me money, whether I look at it or not. That is my problem.


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steve


If you don't recognize the number just don't answer it. Some people are so board they can't wait to answer the phone.


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bill


The only thing the FCC should regulate is porography and fraud.


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
greg miller


I have NO USE for the FCC...or the EPA...or the FTC....Government...stay out of my life ...


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
Charlie


The right wing wants to make this a free speech issue BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONES SPAMMING PEOPLE! Can you imagine if the DNC was spamming millions of people, they would screaming their heads off and saying that the FCC should enforce existing legislation. Pay close attention right-wing trolls - this is not new regulation, but just asking the FCC to clarify that text message spam is illegal.


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BadWhisky


barry1817:: I do not want BS sent to my cell that I did not ask for by at the very least personally giving my number to the sender. Free speach has nothing to do with unsolicited spam which, by the way, verizon will label as premium or special communications and charge you for. There is a list you can signup on to stop this activity on the voice portion of your cell and land line; but, the loop hole dose not include text, I signed up for the list and stopped the voice invation, what part of free speach allows them the right to ignore my wishes and us the same number to send text?


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George


YOU have freedom to say what you want, BUT NOT to send it to my EMAIL or my CELLPHONE. Besides, I am one of the growing number of people who not only don't respond positively to your emails, texts, calls, but will react in exactly the opposite way from what you espouse.


BACKLASH


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Dwight Mccarty


We as citizens have lost so many personal freedoms, and this is one more example of that. We need some private sanctuary from the onslaught of messaging we receive from so many other channels.


Please do not allow this sort of spam by text to continue.


Dwight McCarty
Campbell, CA


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
Ziegler


Someday, when you go nothing better to do...go look up your local postal office and go by there. You'll probably have to google the location as nobody actually goes there anymore, but once you are....kindly ask the postal service employee how you go about stopping unwanted mail. See what they tell you.
This falls under the same catergory and will probably be allowed to happen. I dont like it, but I have no issues at all with the FCC actually stopping advertisers from contacting me without my expressed consent. That's exactly what the DO NOT CALL registry is suppsoed to be all about. We should be able to put our address in that list along with our email and phone number and any company sending unwanted solicitation should have to go by that list and each violation is a 500.00 fine paid to the person you contacted.


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rdhood


Political campaigns have no free speech "right" to text me. I don't have a text or data plan, and every received text costs me money. Gabriel Joseph's free speech rights end at the point that it costs me money.


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Derp


Dear Whiners/Government:


It'd be a far easier, cheaper, and faster solution to simply allow all phone users to use whitelists for text messages.


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
rdhood


Political campaigns have no free speech "right" to text me. I don't have a text or data plan, and every received text costs me money. Gabriel Joseph's free speech rights end at the point that it costs me money.


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Pat Payne


Spam texts aren't free speech as far as I'm concerned -- it costs me 20 cents a message to receive them.


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Regina


Perverted Vermin!
Free speech, government out of my life, speech control! All rants of the communistic democratic socialist... These are the same ilk that freely use the power of government to impose their political perversion on a free people and our nations constitution. I buy and pay for my ability to communicate by text message to family and friends and they DEMAND they be allowed to break in and speu their waste.
If we resist, they jump with outrage and flee with haste to the very government they so dislike to interfere by government force to further empower their invasion into our private communications!
OK. By their reasoning, they have an inviolate right to force my front door open and force me to listen to their sales pitch. To send me junk mail and reverse the postage fees to my account... The truth is, they have NO RIGHT to force their way into my life at my ex pence or free of cost! Why don't they break in to my phone conversations and force us to listen to their crap? Because they would if there wasn't a federal law to stop their sick desire to control others.
So what about mail spam? Why are we all subsidizing their free ride at our expense? Isn't the post office broke? Why isn't junk mail charged twice the rate of first class private mail? Why not? Is there anyone out here who wouldn't like to see that plague stopped? It would help the post office financially as well as cut way back on the staffing requirements. (This would chill the whole sordid quagmire)


Forcing us to pay for their so called" free spamming" is WRONG!


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Mel Beavis


I am on the do not call list. It does not deter anyone. The SPAM text messages that I get costing me 20 cents each are the worst. I can't block them, and I need to look at them because everything coming to my cell phone is supposed to be urgent. Free speech does not include the right for someone to invade my mailbox at my expense after I have explicitly said don't do it. I want the right to charge someone $10 (billed to their telephone) for each unwanted message that I receive. This could work like a 900 number. An Internet to SMS bridge serves no purpose except to enable spammers.


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JustinC


NO MORE FEDERAL POWER! Jeez... Don't they regulate and control ENOUGH???


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Wes Vogel


How about the FCC crack down on "CARD SERVICES" scam phone calls that EVERYONE receives every single day. Always trying to steal our identities. They use fake caller id phone numbers. But the Feds don't do a thing to stop it. The FCC is a scam.


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Richard


If this were a legitimate free speech issue, then anyone could walk into his local TV or radio station and demand an open microphone at any time without charge. The right to free POLITICAL speech is absolute, but that does not infer a right to be heard. If it did, then it would be illegal to leave the room for a beer or a pit stop when a political ad was on the television, as that would be a violation of one's right to be heard. Citizens would be obligated to constantly scan all channels all hours of the day or night to make certain he heard all political speech being broadcast: To do otherwise would be a violation of the speaker's right to be heard.


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Anon


Only a-holes believe that "free speech" means "anything goes" - don't yell TEXT in a crowded theater!


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
bsolo


I was spammed VIA SMS from a movie promoter, I turned around, found the sites & facebook and spammed the heck out of them. SPAM me and I'll SPAM you back, is my theory. Also posted the spammers contact info all over craigslist .


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
Richard


If this were a legitimate free speech issue, then anyone could walk into his local TV or radio station and demand an open microphone at any time without charge. The right to free POLITICAL speech is absolute, but that does not infer a right to be heard. If it did, then it would be illegal to leave the room for a beer or a pit stop when a political ad was on the television, as that would be a violation of one's right to be heard. Citizens would be obligated to constantly scan all channels all hours of the day or night to make certain he heard all political speech being broadcast: To do otherwise would be a violation of the speaker's right to be heard.


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JohnF


When I have to pay for text messaging, I get to control who gets to send to me. And I say unsolicited advertisements should be banned. It's one thing to sign up to the Weather Channel to get texts. What's next, am I going to have to get two cell phones, one number I give out to business that I never answer and another that I only give out to friends?? That's what I do now, I have a landline that fills the business niche so I don't have to give out my cell phone number to businesses. All calls on that number go to voice mail, numbers that are spam get blocked. Surprising how many calls I get that never leave a message.


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Hedge


The last thing you want to happen is the federal government to get involved in this...who knows what stupid ideas the FCC will implement if they are allowed in the arena. Get some smart kid to develop a spam filter for texts, problem solved.


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FreeManinAmerica


Considering how useless the national Do Not Dial data base has proven to preventing unsolicited land line and wireless calls, it seems a private sector response to this issue would be more effective (like a user ability to block messages from unknown senders or from certain domains). It is also much more likely that a private sector response would pass Constitutional muster. Trust the FCC to assert regulatory authority in yet another domain where they have no authority.


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Texas Wedge


The solution is simple. Texting should fall under the category of a phone solicitation, making it subject to the Do Not Call Registry. If your phone number is registered, you can't receive Spam Texts. It's really that simple.


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Spinnaker


Anything, anything the federal government touches will eventually be destroyed.


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Reverend Ken


just build an app to block them or use a non texting one, duh.


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
39winks


"Freedom of speech" includes the right to speak, the right to not speak, and the right to not listen. Yes, the spammers have a right to speak, but they do not have the *right* to speak to *me*.


Unless there's something like a do-not-call list, shut down the industry.


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GroundRatR390A


The big problem with SMS spam and smishing is the receipient pays for the dubious honor of receiving unwanted messages, regardless of who sent them. Unlike email, there's no provision in SMS to set up rule-based filters or deny lists. I'm not in favor of excessive telecom regulation, but when the customer is paying to be spammed and has no real recourse, something has to be done and it's not very likely that any sort of addendum to GSM specifications will ever allow the customer to set up their own rules. Of course, in this case the Dems were complaining, but they wouldn't be if they were sending the offending texts. Regardless of party affiliation, receiving texts asking you to reveal PII (phishing and spamming are already illegal) is downright inconvenient. Moreover, the case could be made that since there's an internet to SMS connection, the spam originated on the internet, so is already illegal.


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
Great ...


I think it's a great idea. The spam texts are the reason I totally disconnect text messaging from my phone. First of all, I don't text; I would rather speak to my wife than text her. Secondly, I am NOT going to pay 0.25 to read some advertisement or some nonsense spam text (eg remember those chained emails that says you better send to 50 of your friends or you'll die tomorrow?) that people simply sends out. 3rdly, AT&T has made enough money out of me with their crappy signal service. I'm not paying them more to send / receive some text message at 0.25/text and cost at&t marginally at $0.00


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mevo


I currently have over 9000 spam in an email account I actually pay for. Can one imagine spam text messages! I'd have to just wipe the phone every day.


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Eric


FCC BUTT OUT. THIS IS NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!


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suzy000


Hey...if your a Democrat...you have to pay the piper...This Dem Administration wants internet tax and text mssaging tax...heck...they ARE the TAX PARTY! Kaine is a Dem who will vote to tax Americans to their limit and then some!


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Anthony


I don't see why we need the FCC for this issue. Technically, this is harassment, as I am powerless to stop them from bombarding me with messages. The way to stop this problem is a class action law-suit. We need to focus on tort reform and other methods to stop corporations from taking advantage of the average citizen. We need to stop running to government to solve every problem we have. That creates a society that is completely dependent on government and a society that lacks freedom and liberty. The more we depend, the more power they have and more we move into a complete state of tyranny.


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WriterDudeLA


Dear Mr. Joseph, What part of "it's not your phone," do you not understand. Your free speech stops when it impinges on my rights and my rights include, deciding from who and to whom I want to receive text messages on MY phone.


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
tron


The person with the cel phone is charged money for receiving these text messages. It should be illegal to cause a financial charge against someone without their knowledge AND consent.


The same holds true here in the USA re: cell phone calls. The cell phone user is CHARGED for the INCOMING call.


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Windygirl


Free speech is one thing, but when it is carried along at the financial cost to it's recipient, then you are stealing from me. Perhaps we can sue such advertisers for damages.


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Mark


Free speech ends when it costs me money to receive it. 10 cents per message received is not free. Sending me unsolicited, unwanted messages harms me financially. Filling up the storage space in my phone is also not free. I paid for the phone. It is my private property. Unwanted messages are trespassing on my property. Unwanted messages obscure and overwrite messages that are important to me. Keep the spammers off the text path.


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STOP THE JUNK


THERE SHOULD BE SOME REGULATION TO STOP UNWANTED TEXTING AND JUNK PHONE CALLS. We have to PAY to retrieve this junk and we never know if these are legit until we have checked in and paid.


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Brett


GET OUT OF MY LIFE!


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John N.


Just another "Do Not Call" list which is working so well. Having been on the list since its inception I suppose I ought to be thankful for the few years of relative peace. Not any more.


I don't want spam in by text inbox any more than I want unsolicited telephone calls. In the end, we will get both AND and a more intrusive Federal agency in the bargain.


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Tina B


What about those of us who have specifically signed up on the Do Not Call registry that still get political calls? Same thing applies with the test messages as far as I can see, it all comes thru the same phone. We have to pay for our service. The whole purpose of the Do Not Call registry was so WE had a say in what WE wanted in the type of calls WE get. Congress and the FCC needs to get the backbone to stand up to these fools and say Enough! The people are tired of having to spend money to hear your calls or read your messages. Also, lets not get into the messages you just open and the next thing you know you are being billed $9.99 every month! All in the name of advertising!!!


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Dialla Ingalis


Is this our most pressing problem ? I think we could waste/use these dollars somewhere else.


Sicking ...


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Calcon10


Leave it alone, you bunch of nanny-state busybodies!


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Dave


Seems pretty simple to combat this. Get Anonymous or some other similar organization to list the numbers to text the people who authorize spam texts to be sent and flood THEIR phones with them. They'll get the message soon enough.


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Ariesmom007


I had to get a new cell phone because my good one got wet, and for a while the ringer didn't work. The number I was given belonged to someone named Whitney, and she, and now I, get spam from some entertainment type site,maybe TMZ?. It is all the time. I got the phone purely as a backup, so thankfully my good phone is working fine again after a few days stint ina bag of rice. But it was so irritating to be in the middle of text and have it interrupted by this spam, and no way to stop it, that I know of.


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JRGage


While I'm a big proponent of free speech, not everyone has free text messaging ergo they are being charged a real monetary amount for someone else's advertising. That should be illegal, and frankly I don't considering advertising a right on my personal electronic device nor should it be a 'cost' of using that device. Google and Apple are especially onerous examples of this. It should be my right to not view their advertising, and there is no real way to opt out of it despite paying cash for the device and the service that supports it. I think there should be concrete regulations on what companies can and can not do in their advertising practices. We need to stop lumping things like this into a First Amendment issue since this fails the standard to meet First Amendment protection in the first place.


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eramthgin


Oh please. They are just trying to seize some power. Totally worthless.......they passed laws against spam mail and what did that accomplish. Not a damn thing! They will never prosecute anyone even when they are easy to find.


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dieter


unsolicited spam texts are not speech, free or otherwise


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margaret


The FCC doesn't need to be involved. The cell companies need to allow you to BLOCK certain phone numbers. This would be a simple app or add on to the existing software. Problem solved.


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Mike


Obama supports this massive type of government regulation. Romney doesn't.


I think Romney can win over some on-the-fence voters just by showing he's not as regulation crazy on the internet as Obama is.


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Richard


Ultimately, even if these messages become illegal, the senders will merely move their operations overseas where the operations will be outside the reach of the FCC and US law.


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Curtes


Why is it that legislators (or ANY others, for that matter) get to ignore the "Do Not Call registry"? Outside of emergencies, you should be able to be free from unsolicited calls FROM ANYONE - if you choose. If that would be in force, then I don't care how you automate the calls that are legit. If you can save some time / money, go for it.


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Andy


It's commercial speech, and it is allowed to be regulated. Get prior express permission and you will be fine.


“[W]e conclude that the TCPA did not intend to prohibit autodialer or prerecorded message calls to cellular customers for which the called party is not charged,”


This is just dumb. You might want to read the entire subsection, not simply a part of it. Look at the plain language. Wow, dream on.


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Ken


This is ridiculous and a waste of money. I'd be happy if the do not call registry would just work.


I never get cellphone spam.


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2ndprotectsall


The FCC is yet another government agency that needs to be scaled WAY back.


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Kala


Liberals are looking for every way they can to cut into free speech. Or really to control speech they don't like. They can't be TRUSTED.


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CatHerder54


The FCC does Not have the Authority, delegated by Congress, to regulate the Internet.
If this type of Private Communication becomes a problem for enough Cell Phone Bill PAYERS - Then Private Companies WILL develop a solution!
Perhaps it won't be free.
Initially, it might even be spendy... But, if enough Customers want it, that WILL change!
After all, how much was a Cell Phone in:
1988? (Yikes!)
1995? (I wish I could)
2000? (getting better!)
20012? (Snicklefritz!!)


Freedom Works! (If you can keep the Gvmt out!!!)


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Justin


They cannot stop "Rachel" from "card member services" from calling me TWICE daily. What makes them think they can get rid of junk texts? The DoNotCall list is practically worthless against stealth auto dialing crooks.


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Slam1263


It's not "free" speech if it costs me a nickel.


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Ji


Id rather phone companies giove us the option to block text mesaages that the Government getting involved. Once that door is open then they will venture into more of our freedoms, dont like the message dont read it, better yet dont open a message from an unknown source


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Anonymous834


i can block calls and texts with a simple app on my android phone


4e04d3774bfd8609cef4d7478a676ac6?d=mm
what a joke


Well, if it's anything like DoNotCall list, it'll be just another joke to waste taxpayer money on


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Mendoza


The FCC's jurisdiction ends at the shores of the US. Anybody who does spam marketing should know this crucial piece of information.


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Smokestack


I carry 3 cell phones 2 for work and 1 for personal. the work ones are contract phones and the personal one is a prepaid. I don't know the numbers to any of my cell phones off the top of my head so I know I don't pass out the numbers and I defiantly don't sign up for calls or text messages. However my prepaid phone for which I get charged to receive calls and texts at 10 cents per min and 25 cent per text is the one that gets all the spam. The spam texts were so bad that I had my carrier make it so I can not receive text messages on that line. I still get spam calls to refinance my home, which I've never owned one, or to go on cruises, which I have no interest of ever going on. I am on the do not call list and have been since its inception but that doesn't seem to slow them down even though I report every incident. I just am having a hard time seeing how this is their right to free speech. I understand the right to political speech, especially, but stay off my cell phone it costs me money and I don't want to hear how I should vote from you.


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Jtom


I pay for every incoming text message I get. Anyone sending me a text message without my approval is guilty of theft of service.


Text message spammers should be imprisoned.


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Zoe


This is ridiculous because for years now being on the Do Not Call list has been a joke. They do nothing to stop the 20 or so calls a week I get to my home phone. It's to the point I think I may change my home number which has been my number for 20 years. What makes anyone think they can do any better with text messages?


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Rob


Bull...your right to free speech does not include harassing me. Otherwise, why don't I just show up at your house every day and harass you with unwanted messages, call you at akll hours of the day and night, etc? Two things need to be done: 1) this whole text spam thing needs to be stopped, and 2) we need a political no-call list. Period. End of story. I don't want your messages, I don't need your messages, and I shouldn't have to put up with unwanted calls to my home. There is no good argument against that. it is harassment, plain and simple.


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OldOllie


SMS spam is in no way, shape, or form "free speech." I don't use text, so I'm on a pay-per-use texting plan. That means every time one of these spammers sends me a junk text, it cost me 15 cents.


Free speech means you can get up on your soap box and say whatever you want. It does NOT mean that you can get up on MY soapbox. Of course, you can spend 15 min. on the phone with customer service to get the charge taken off your bill, that is, if you don't mind working for 60 cents an hour.


If they can't ban this, there should at least be a quick and easy way to reverse the charges for spam text messages.


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muyflaco


I don't want the spam message, I find it to be an invasion of my privacy. As a class action suit we can stop the spam by hitting their pocketbooks. My phone, my privacy, my choice.


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Rick


Had to work with the FCC for years, DON'T trust them.


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Kini


When text spam costs the recipient a charge on their monthly subscription bill, then the spammer should pay for that text message, not the end user. Otherwise, here's a spamware opportunity for developers.


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Kerry Bates


This is upsetting because we are bombarded by advertising from the time we wake up in the morning, all throughout work, schools are not immune, on computers everywhere you look, on the roads, and of course our televisions. Our children harass us relentlessly for every thing they see on t.v., we are always trying to resist the things we see, that we just have to have. We have no choice in the matter.
We pay for the service to have our phone. We carry it everywhere, always checking messages, and going on websites where we again encounter those ads, our phones already take up way to much of our time. If you are waiting on an urgent call it gets really annoying to get solicited. I think everyone is free to advertise but as far as I am concerned if they want to send ads to my phone then they should be paying me for the privilege, like they pay t.v. and radio, to display their ads. They want the space, I say pay for it. We pay for the minutes and the data, and they want to take a piece of that, then they should pay for it. Come on, it is common sense. And they have the nerve to say they have a right to what amounts to basically stealing my minutes or data.


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Moi


To those saying that cell phones can already block text messages, you are missing that you CANNOT block NEW text messages -- only senders that have already sent you something. There is no "whitelisting" for text messages. Furthermore, the apps that block senders are all either adware or paid apps, not the default SMS apps that come with the phones. Then, of course, there are phones like my coworker has, which are keypad feature phones that don't use an actual app for SMS and he can't block anything at all on his. If I could whitelist phonecalls and text messages the same way I can whitelist emails, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, it IS an issue. I'm not sure the FCC is the right avenue for this but those of you claiming this is a free speech issue are pure morons.


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Tugboat


Minor point: Mr. Joseph is wrong. There are nowhere near 479 million people subject to the rulings of the FCC. That FAR exceeds the number of US citizens and other people within the US.


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reddots


Dump the FCC


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sam


Don't you think, with all the technology today, that a simple application could weed this stuff out? Do we really need the un -elected officials in a government agency deciding what is free speech and what is spam?


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David


Does Internet-to-text include things like Google Voice? That's the only method I have right now to text people, so I could get in serious trouble with the FCC if they ever see it.


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Kalon Reeves


Even if their intent is to block scores of spam texting, the way they are choosing to attack it is idiotic.


They are attempting to declare an entire means of texting as "Auto-dialing" just because some companies use that means? I text to my friends and family from my computer as well and I am not "auto-dialing" or mass texting. As a matter of fact it is about the only means by which I prefer to text since I am comfortable typing at a keyboard and therefore by comparison hate texting from a phone.


Declaring texting from a computer "Auto-dialing" isn't just a lame way of attacking a problem, it also simply isn't true. By their logic all land lines should be banned because phone calls from such lines could be declared "telemarketing". I'm sure they aren't concerned about it themselves because they probably don't text from computers and therefore it would never affect them.


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Crazy Eddy


Freedom is boisterous and sometimes inconvenient. Ask yourself whether you want to be free to speak or free from others speech. Either way, be careful about restricting freedom, yours or someone elses.


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Doug


I have to pay money to receive a text message. Therefore, anyone who sends me a spam text is stealing from me. This gives me the right to find them and take back what they have stolen.
Keep that in mind.


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Steve


Here's the thing that ticks me off. It ain't Free Speach as covered in the Constitution when I have to pay 25 cents a message.


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Danny Mann


Like it will work. Of course not.


The no not call telephone list is a JOKE.


I added all my phones and I still get a flood of calls about my mortgage (its paid off) and insurance. I go to the registry and complain about the # that calls but they still call.
The NEW hook is they call from a local cell phone # just to get people to answer.
The Military is even being polluted by Obam the great policies. As a 10 + vet with service connected.
Obam PUT Muslims that are known radicals in HIGH positions of Govt and even DOD and the Pentagon.


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Russ in OR


Advertisers have no free speech rights on a service that I pay for.


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Steffie


Well, nobody is saying they shouldn't be able to say what they want to say, but consumers shouldn't be forced to pay for it...some people have limited text on their cell phones and this could potentially be a cost to the customer. It's one thing when that happens from friends/family but it's another thing to be slammed by marketers and then have to PAY FOR IT?? no way!


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Chris


You know, talking is a form of communication, and the sound that comes out of your mouth moves on waves through the air the same way that radio and TV signals do. Perhaps the FCC will look to regulate talking next. Then again, maybe I shouldn't give them any ideas...


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Dr Mikey


"Free Speech" is not necessarily free to those receiving unwanted text messages. I have to pay every time I receive one.


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Steffie


Well, nobody is saying they shouldn't be able to say what they want to say, but consumers shouldn't be forced to pay for it...some people have limited text on their cell phones and this could potentially be a cost to the customer. It's one thing when that happens from friends/family but it's another thing to be slammed by marketers and then have to PAY FOR IT?? no way!


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Al J


Government of, by and for the people has become a Stalinist/Hitlerian dictatorship. What's next train schedules to Gulags?


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Dave Mowers


It never ends. Americans are constantly, forcibly subjected to advertising they do not want or care about. When will our officials enforced our right to privacy?


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matt


Phuck the FCC.


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Jeff


If I pay for the phone and service, I should get my my privacy. There is no legal reason I should have to pay more for spam.


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hwobs


I don't have a problem with it. Just give me the capability to opt out or block entirely and the spammers should pay for the texting as well. I had to jump through rediculous hoops this year to get gagacell from spamming me at a cost of $10/mo because I didn't properly prevent them in the first place. Their system has a sneaky way of making it hard for you to keep them out. I finally had to go through ATT and get customer service (who is well aware of this problem) to stop the spam and refund me all the money. Free speech isn't barging into my house and forcing me to listen or read your garbage. Free speech is your freedom to publish only. I still have the freedom not to read, but when you ram it into my private life via a service I pay for and hope to have some privacy on at my cost then you've overstepped your bounds.


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john


This is an easy one, SPAM is SPAM is SPAM is SPAM


Gabriel Joseph, president of ccAdvertising didn't leave his personal phone number did he?


Hmmm, wonder why.


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SimpleFacts


Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you want to know where this is going, just look at the "do not call" lists. Know who is specifically exempted? Politicians. Political calls and never going to be cut by the very politicians that think those calls are vote getters


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mike


The free speech argument is weak. Free speech does not give you the right to say what you want wherever you want. For example, If I wanted to walk into your house uninvited to tell you about a candidate, could I really claim that this is protected under free speech. No. Even free speech has limits.


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Byron Brooks


I despise unsolicited phone calls from any agency I have not granted permission. Someone's exercise of their free speech does not include infringement upon my right to disengage. If I am not at liberty to disengage from a conversation I am effectively having my rights as a citizen superseded, in this case by another's economic privilege. Isn't this what Occupy is really about? If there were an intruder in my house, I would shoot, or have them arrested for trespassing. The sender of an unsolicited commercial text should be held in the same regard.


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Bill


Is it FREE speech when I am paying to receive it?


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SCADS


I am appalled at the state of spam in America. A person's rights stops at the end of my nose, right? I should have the right to be left alone. I value my time and do not wish to waste it by deleting scads of junk mail or texts from entities that I do not already have a relationship with. I already get dozens of emails a day from entities I already have a relationship with. Why would I want to increase that amount exponentially by getting junk emails AND texts from random entities? In short, if you don't know me and I don't know you, then don't call--or text.


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Bruce


All I can say is that if the government burrowcraps touch it, they will f%$#ck it up and make things worse, they always do.


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Rex


Give me this guy's address so that I can send him my bill.


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Tony


Your right to free speech does not give you the right to force me to pay for your message. (I pay per text message.)


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in_awe


Does freedom of speech allow a stranger to invade my house to deliver his message? Of course not - that is invasion of my privacy. I also want to protect my freedom to not pay for someone else to deliver unwanted messages to me.


Set up yet another database where one can opt-in or opt-out of third party contacts. Enforcement and penalties should be robust. Unfortunately, the current DNC database is not being actively enforced. I am now getting between 5 and 10 calls a day despite being on the federal DNC list from the start.


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J Farrell


Spammers must pay for the call.


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Brent


This isn't about protecting free speech. It's about preventing harassment by commercial and political interests. There is a fairly significant difference.


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33db


You can wait for them to regulate, or you can go get a Google Voice number and only give that number out.
Google Voice allows you to block annoying calls and messages.
I never give anyone my real number, I give them my Voice number.


I don't have an issue with spam or problem calls on my real number, the rest of the garbage gets filtered in Voice..


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Christine Missouri


Personally I would like to do something rather unpleasant to whoever was behind a string of unsolicited text messages about a "$500 best buy card" yesterday.


The last one was at 2.27am!!! Not only did it wake me up, it woke up the whole family including one family member who was taking exams today. None of us could get back to sleep. Thanks for nothing.


The company involved was contestnotify.net.


For the record I have NEVER entered any type of competition from my cell phone and am incredibly careful about who I give my number to. If a phone number is needed, I always give a landline.


I also pay individually for my texts. What about my freedom to have a good night's sleep without having spam texts wake me up at 2.27am? Grrrrrhh.


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Turk1184


@barry:
"What part of congress shall make no law regarding free speech doesn't this department understand"


Does that mean that you can come into my home sit down and talk to me whether I want you to or not? Since when does free speech mean that I am forced to pay for your bloviating. People with cell phones should be required to pay per call made, not call received. That would but an end to the argument.


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GIMP


Unsolicited commercial, political, religions, or charity phone calls, texts, emails, chat requests, and faxes should be banned with no exceptions. The only time I should ever get something I didn't ask for is when somebody dials, texts, faxes, etc. my number by accident.


It's my phone, I pay for the bandwidth it uses, the electricity that charges the battery, and everything else associated with it. The individual's freedom from unsolicited speech should trump.


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Noni911


Fully half of you commenters don't get it. This is about organizations circumventing an already existing law to send you political spam. It's not a free speech issue. It's not an e-mail issue. The current law prohibits contacting people via autodialers. You can send a text to any phone via e-mail. Sending automated e-mails that show up on people's phones as texts is essentially the same thing. And even one person getting charged to receive these unwanted e-mails is too many.


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Damien


Regarding Joseph's insanities, no comment. Regarding the system: Receiving unwanted messages is only part of the problem. The other part is PAYING for it. And there is an easy legal fix for this, that should have been implemented long ago : FORBIDING ALL OPERATORS TO CHARGE FOR INCOMING CALLS / TEXTS. They are just ripping you off, and doing it well, they charge TWICE for one good (a phone call), and it makes you pay for things you don't want (forget about the scam: what about an annoying ex-girl friend? an invasive relative? you pay whether you want the text or not!).
In the rest of the world nobody pays for incoming calls/text, and if you were to tell them that they have to pay for this nonsense they would laugh and look at you like you just told them they will have to pay to get sunlight.
it's absurd, it's a rip off, and it's just one more thing to milk the supposedly free citizens of this supposedly free country, to the benefit of the big corps. And you don't even see it ! ( not one comment about the actual problem: paying for incoming call/texts). "God bless America" must be the mantra of the big corps. Never seen one country were individuals get more abused than here. And I've seen a lot (40+).


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