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FCC will allow carriers to block spam text messages

2018-12-12 18:17 by
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The Federal Communications Commission voted on Wednesday in favor of a ruling that labels SMS and MMS as information services under the Communications Act, giving telecoms permission to block unwanted messages.

The reclassification only applies to SMS and MMS and not the next-generation texting standard, RCS. Because of a "lack of discussion of RCS and RTT in the record," the FCC is making no judgment on its status today. That means we'll probably have another debate about whether carriers can have the same leeway to treat the next-generation texting service. Given that RCS is technologically much closer to other texting apps like iMessage and WhatsApp, it seems likely that the carriers will have a strong argument that it should also be classified as an information service. In fact, Verizon has already asked for exactly that in a filing.

However, critics of the plan note that carriers are already allowed to block robotexts and worry that the change will make it easy for carriers to censor political texts or block certain kinds of messages in order to extract more revenue from senders.

"This decision does nothing to curb spam, and is not needed to curb spam," says Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge, which has pushed the agency to classify texts as a telecommunications service. "It is simply the latest example of Chairman Pai's radical agenda that puts companies ahead of consumers." 

Read more -here-

 

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