The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month on proposed rules that would require wireless companies to block some suspicious text messages, the agency said Wednesday.
The proposed rules would obligate providers to block texts from numbers on a “do-not-originate” list -- which contains numbers linked to fraud. The proposal would also require providers to block texts from invalid, unallocated or unused numbers -- all of which are associated with illegality, according to the FTC.
Another proposed regulation would prohibit marketers from texting numbers on a “do-not-call” registry.
Also, the proposal would prohibit companies from taking advantage of what the FCC calls the “lead generator loophole” -- which occurs when companies use a consumer's consent to receive messages from one source and then deliver robocalls and text messages from numerous other marketers.
News of the upcoming vote comes around six months after FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel solicited public comments on potential regulations aimed at curbing spammy text messages.
The proposal was backed by attorneys general and advocacy groups including the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
“The steady escalation of complaints about unwanted texts, as well as mounting losses to consumers from scam texts, necessitate that more be done to protect consumers,” the advocacy organizations wrote in comments filed with the agency late last year.
Wireless carriers, on the other hand, opposed the proposal.
“No one-size-fits-all approach to protecting consumers could possibly be calibrated to achieve the optimal consumer protection experience,” Verizon argued in written comments.
The company added that the proposal would present “costs and compliance challenges” while failing to benefit consumers.
“Verizon is not aware of any database of 'unused' telephone numbers that could be used to block texts on a real-time basis, so presumably such a database would need to be built,” the company wrote.
As much as I applaud the FCC for a firmer stance on text spam, it isn't easy to do. Filters are already in place that block "clean" messages sent to employees and other valid traffic notifications.
The other issue is SMTP spam, where a user emails a message to a mobile number.
Having been in the text messaging space for over 20 years, I know determining valid vs. invalid messaging is difficult and requires more than simple filters.
10DLC is the option currently being rolled out to address these concerns. We will see how it goes.