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Regulations to tackle text spam

Update: October, 25/2014 - 08:37

IT technicians are working to control the deluge of spam text messages in Viet Nam, Le Nam Thang, Deputy Minister of Communication and Information, told Tin Tuc (News) newspaper

Do you think poor management of mobile network codes is to blame for the flood of spam text messages being sent to people's phones?

In my opinion, the blame should be attributed to the service providers who don't enforce advertisement law correctly. When these companies send out text messages, they don't use their registered network codes, but other codes.

There are various reasons spam text messages get through security. But the main one is that the telecommunications network laws, including those on internet, are not comprehensive. Technology is changing rapidly, but that isn't reflected in our legal system. As a result, quite a few loopholes have opened up.

What will you do to combat spam texting?

Recently, we have introduced some rules and mechanisms to stop the flood of text messages. For example, advertisers must now get clients' acceptance before being able to send texts to them. In addition, service providers must be given specific codes to enable management agencies to monitor and check spam texts. But in reality, these two requirements aren't as comprehensive as they should be.

Regarding this issue, the Ministry of Information and Communication started compiling a circular with information on text message management. The document will cover three main ideas. Firstly, the ministry will directly provide and manage network codes given to service providers. Secondly, all text messages must follow a specific format. It must have three parts: the name of the service provider, the message content and the service fee. If any text message fails to include these, it will be barred by the network operator.

The ministry is calling on phone owners not to open any text messages from numbers they don't recognise or whose sender does not follow the message format required by the Ministry. Such a message is likely to be spam.

Though all the networks have stated that they have installed barriers to prevent spam, it still gets through. What's your position on this?

Here I just want to say, technical barriers installed by network providers only work on enterprises that have signed contracts with the networks. In Viet Nam, in addition to official network providers, anyone who has a mobile phone set can send a text message as an advertisement for their goods or services. I'm afraid to say we don't have any measures to control text messages sent by individuals. — VNS

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