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ICSTIS investigate anonymous SMS services

UK premium phone regulator ICSTIS (soon be known as the rather friendlier “PhonePayPlus”) have begun an urgent consultation into anonymous text services, after growing concern about these services being used to detrimental effect.

According to ICSTIS, one particular case from 2006 involved a text sent to a mother claiming her son had been killed in a car accident. Since then the regulator has been busy monitoring and researching these anonymous text services, and having come to the conclusion that potential widespread distress exists, they’re now proposing greater licensing and control.

The public consultation can be downloaded at http://www.icstis.org.uk/pdfs_consult/anonymous_sms.pdf – the deadline for comments is Friday 7 September 2007.

7 replies on “ICSTIS investigate anonymous SMS services”

This is great news, the general public aren’t allowed to go around spoofing CLID on voice calls willy nilly so why should they be allowed to falsify SMS headers!

I knew there was a reason I refused to touch these services with a REALLY LONG stick when people used to ask me to run them – the potential for abuse is immediately obvious, I’m jsut surprised it’s taken ICSTIS this long to notice…

That car crash one, ICSTIS found the service provider that enabled the message to be sent and charged for it weren’t at fault. Awesome!

I actually thought anonymous text would be seen in a dim light by ICSTIS, but then I saw the public consultation, which seemed to be generally ok with it – so I immediately launched CloakText (www.cloaktext.co.uk) to provide a unique mobile-driven anonymous text service. I will of course comply with whatever regulations they bring into force, which looks like being no more than the requirement to send a follow-up message to the recipient to inform them that they’ve received an anonymous message.

This approach is obviously aimed at avoiding the sending of abusive or threatening messages so it can only be positive. However, I object to the use of a non-PRS number, preferring instead a return path through which the recipient can send a STOP command and block future messages.

I see they have decided to regulate with pre permission license, must send followup or contain information in the sent message with a non-PRS number to call: operator or IVR answered. Effective Jan 11th 2008

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