Stop My Spam! Legislators prepare to shield users from mass SMS ads

Stop My Spam! Legislators prepare to shield users from mass SMS ads
Russia’s upper house has developed a set of amendments to the Law on Communications that would define mass SMS deliveries as a separate service and allow mobile phone users to demand that providers filter spam messages.

Senator Ruslan Gattarov has told reporters that the changes would only allow mass deliveries of SMS, MMS and other messages other than voice calls only if the end user gives consent to receiving them.

Mobile operators should take an obligation to restrict the mass delivery traffic in their networks. The realization of the suggested changes will significantly reduce the amount of delivered spam,” Gattarov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti.

The senator referred to recent research conducted by the ESET software company that showed Russians in general had very negative attitude towards SMS spam and as much as 76 percent of mobile phone users said they suffered from unsolicited advertising in text messages.

At the same time, the operators claim that they have no legal grounds to block spammers and this applies equally to mobile text messages and emails.

The bill is still far from reality though, as it has just entered the first stage of the legislative process and must be discussed by experts within the Federation Council’s commission for development of the information society.

In September this year State Duma MP Ilya Kostunov drafted his own bill on protection against mobile spam. This draft suggests creating a united national database of phone numbers of people who choose not to receive any advertising on their mobile phones.

In case of violations the advertisers will be punished with fines ranging from 2,000 rubles (about $65) for private persons to 500,000 rubles (over $15,000) for registered companies. The ban would annul all previously given permission for mass messages deliveries.

Placing users in the national anti-spam register will be made after personal application which can be made either personally in the Communications Ministry reception centers or through the State Civil Services’ web portal.