FCC Tries To Make Mobile Spam Opt In - InformationWeek
07:04 PM
Connect Directly
[Best Practices] Managing Multiple Clouds
Jul 26, 2017
Putting all your eggs in one cloud basket is risky, because clouds are not immune to denials of se ...Read More>>

FCC Tries To Make Mobile Spam Opt In

The commission ruled that senders of commercial E-mail messages need to get consent to send them to mobile phones and pagers.

The FCC ruled Wednesday that senders of unsolicited commercial E-mail may not send marketing messages to mobile phones and pagers without explicit prior consent.

The ruling represents an effort to implement the Can-Spam Act of 2003 on wireless devices. It applies specifically to E-mail addresses provided by Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers, as opposed to E-mail addresses offered by traditional Internet service providers and accessed through a wireless device. It also doesn't cover Short Message Service messages sent to mobile phone numbers.

To assist marketers with compliance, the commission is requiring CMRS providers to supply a list of Internet domains associated with wireless subscriber messaging services. This list, which won't contain individual addresses, will be used as a do-not-spam list for mobile-focused marketers trying not to run afoul of the law.

In June, the Federal Trade Commission decided that a general do-not-spam list to protect consumers wouldn't be feasible. In a statement, FCC chairman Michael Powell said the order "shields consumers' wireless devices from these unsolicited, costly, and sometimes indecent messages."

That cost element is one reason the FCC took the unusual step of making mobile spam opt-in, in contrast with the opt-out approach the United States has adopted for other forms of spam, says attorney Jim Brelsford, co-head of the privacy practice at the law firm Jones Day. "There's some actual cost to the recipient to deal with spam in the context of mobile devices," he says.

While the Can-Spam law has been criticized for sanctioning spam that meets regulatory requirements, Brelsford thinks the FCC's mobile spam provisions will be helpful. Even if some marketers look at the rules as a lawsuit-safe loophole, he contends that mobile spam won't generate sales because it's not interactive like regular E-mail. "I don't think it's effective," he says.

While it doesn't cover SMS spam, that's proven less of a problem in the United States than in Europe and Japan. At the Federal Trade Commission Forum last year, AT&T Wireless said that its customers had not been significantly affected by SMS spam but that the company continues to take proactive steps to prevent it.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll