U.S. Legislation Targets Mobile Spam

Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON — A pair of U.S. senators introduced legislation Thursday to outlaw unsolicited commercial text messages, also known as mobile spam (m-spam) or SMS spam.

Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., introduced the m-Spam Act, which would strictly outlaw commercial text messages to wireless numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry.

The bill also would strengthen regulation given to the FCC and the FTC to curb unwanted text messages.

"Mobile spam invades both a consumer's cell phone and monthly bill," Snowe said in a statement. "There also is increasing concern that mobile spam will become more than just an annoyance — the viruses and malicious spyware that are often attached to traditional spam will most likely be more prevalent on wireless devices through m-spam.

“This significant and looming threat must be addressed in order to protect consumers and vital wireless services."

In 2007, U.S. consumers received approximately 1.1 billion text messages that they identified as spam, a report by Ferris Research said.

Fighting m-spam is complicated by many factors, including the fact that most mobile phones have limited programmability and little if any capacity to run third-party spam-filtering software.