Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Senator says 'text' spam invades privacy

Posted 09:12pm (Mla time) Mar 01, 2005
By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

While the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) drafts regulations against unsolicited or unwanted broadcast text messages sent by operators to subscribers, a lawmaker recently declared this practice an invasion of privacy.
"Such [text] messages, by their very nature of being unsolicited, causes inconvenience and invasion of privacy, most especially when these subscribers, who opted to discontinue the receipt of spam text messages, continue to receive them," Senator Manuel Roxas wrote in a resolution urging a congressional inquiry into the matter.

Former trade secretary Roxas, said that a mobile phone, unlike a computer, is a personal device for communication.

He said disallowing mobile phone operators to flood phones with unsolicited messages would lead to better protection of the Filipino subscriber’s right to privacy of communication.

The senator said his inquiry into unsolicited text messages is a reaction to numerous complaints he has received from subscribers.

Unsolicited text messages violate the provision of the Republic Act 8792 or E-commerce Law's implementing rules and regulations, which provide necessary legal protection for consumers.

"It is provided therein that the protection of users, in particular with regard to privacy, confidentiality, anonymity, and content-control shall be pursued through policies driven by choice, individual empowerment, and industry-led solutions," he said.

The Philippines is one of the Asian countries using text or short messaging heavily, with each Filipino subscriber sending an average of 252 messages per month, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres, an international marketing information group.

The advertising community in the Philippines has been targeting mobile phone subscribers due to the ubiquity of the service, Roxas added.

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