FCC Votes to Classify Text Messaging as an Information Service

cageymaru

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The FCC has voted to classify text messages as an "information service" under the Communications Act. This was done to give more leeway to wireless providers to fight spam messages and scam robotexts. Mass texting companies wanted text messaging reclassified as a "telecommunications service" under the Communications Act as this would limit the power of wireless providers to combat spam and scam texts. Wireless providers have been accused of blocking messages from certain groups before. The FCC report can be viewed here.

The Federal Communications Commission today issued a ruling rejecting requests to make it harder for text messaging providers to protect consumers from spam and scam robotexts. The Commission's decision makes clear that wireless providers are authorized to continue their efforts to stop unwanted text messaging through robotext-blocking, anti-spoofing measures, and other anti-spam features.
 

necrosis

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People get spam and scam texts?

Only texts I ever get from people I do not outright know are ones from my carrier.
 
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I've never received a spam text.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'm probably doomed.
 
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nutzo

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This is a good ruling since it should stop California's plan to tax text messaging.

California regulators where claiming that text messages should be classified the same as phone calls, while the wireless providers where claiming they are a data service like email.
The key is that states can tax phone service but can't do the same to a data service like email.

Even worse, California was planning on making the tax retroactive to the past 5 years, so we would have been hit with 5 years of taxes all at once.
 

DNMock

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People get spam and scam texts?

Only texts I ever get from people I do not outright know are ones from my carrier.
Yup, I made the horrible mistake of allowing Bookface to have my phone number many moons ago. Now they spam text me all the time because "so-and-so mentioned you in a post" I blocked their number but somehow if I have to reboot my phone those texts show up.
 

raz-0

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Unfortunately, I can see both sides of this argument.

Some telcos want to treat bulk text messaging as a uniform item.

The political spam I got this year is different from a well behaved, CTIA compliant service like my credit cards have, or amazon uses to notify of package shipment. They are both different form text for emergency notification like some schools use, or Nixle. And they all get treated the same. Got a number from a certain era on t-mobile, and all short codes are blocked by default. Want short code texts and you are on patriot or google fi or other similar reselers of random and or multiple carriers' services, and getting information to you is all sorts of fun and games.

It's all a mess, and while I have sympathy for people sick of bad actors, I don't like that the telcos have been given free reign to continue their shitty practices that require minimal effort and investment from them.

I've also never encountered a CTIA rep who wasn't a total duche nozzle.
 

Dekoth-E-

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People get spam and scam texts?

Only texts I ever get from people I do not outright know are ones from my carrier.
I've started recently getting a bunch of political are you voting bullshit lately despite being on no call no text lists. I never get spam calls so I have no idea how I'm suddenly getting this garbage.
 

idiomatic

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This is such an American phenomenon. I only get spam calls and texts when I visit the US. How do they even get my number?
 
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Anything in this that would stop a company from blocking text from people you want unless you pay for a higher tier of service?

"Get texts from 10 of your contacts for $9.99, act now and get 25 contacts for the low low price of $19.99!"
 
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seanreisk

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I was reading this thread and thinking that we live in an unprecedented time, a time when companies, politicians and scam artists can almost bury us with unwanted communications. I had the thought in my head that this has never been seen before in the history of humanity. But then I realized I received 5 pieces of junk mail today, three of which were credit card offers. And credit card offers aren't something you can throw in the garbage, you have to burn that shit. I have no idea how to stop this stuff, either, because I don't feel like contacting these companies and risk giving them my phone number or email.
 

Grimlaking

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Ajit wants this... mark my words our text messages are now going to be farmed for marketable data to resell. You will text with your spouse over a car repair then get served adds for car repair services in your area.

I guarantee you his telecommunications overlords want to use this ruling to be able to line their pockets. This has zero to do with actually protecting the consumer, it's just the tail of the dog they are wagging.
 

Smoked Brisket

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What am I missing? My carrier cant block a single robo call, but they want to reclassify texts to have greater ability to block robo texts, of which I recieve none? This seems like bait and switch. Are they just greasing the wheels in order to monetize texts?
 

Dead Parrot

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So.... the answer to spam phone calls is to define calls as an information service? Since pretty much all calls are Internet packets for most of their travels, seems like reclassifying would be possible.

I've started recently getting a bunch of political are you voting bullshit lately despite being on no call no text lists. I never get spam calls so I have no idea how I'm suddenly getting this garbage.
The "Do Not Call" law specifically exempts political crap from having to obey the list. I think calls for charitable donations are also exempted.
 

lcpiper

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Ajit wants this... mark my words our text messages are now going to be farmed for marketable data to resell. You will text with your spouse over a car repair then get served adds for car repair services in your area.

I guarantee you his telecommunications overlords want to use this ruling to be able to line their pockets. This has zero to do with actually protecting the consumer, it's just the tail of the dog they are wagging.

Dude, it was already this way. They didn't reclassify it, so it's not a change, the rules are the same.

The Federal Communications Commission today issued a ruling rejecting requests ................

Just a click-bait headline, spiced up to set your heart a flutter :LOL:
 

nutzo

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Ajit wants this... mark my words our text messages are now going to be farmed for marketable data to resell. You will text with your spouse over a car repair then get served adds for car repair services in your area.
I don't know about others, but I've never bought anything off a targeted ad.
Even worse, the targeted ads are usually trying to sell me something I already bought.

Looked on line for pricing on a new dryer. Found then one I wanted and bought it.
For the next month I had targeted ads trying to sell me a new dryer.
 

nutzo

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The "Do Not Call" law specifically exempts political crap from having to obey the list. I think calls for charitable donations are also exempted.
They also exempt anyone you have done business with recently. This usually includes connected businesses too.
 

potency

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I'm curious, besides enabling telecoms to combat spam, what benefits do they gain that they could exploit and abuse?
 

vegeta535

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This is a good ruling since it should stop California's plan to tax text messaging.

California regulators where claiming that text messages should be classified the same as phone calls, while the wireless providers where claiming they are a data service like email.
The key is that states can tax phone service but can't do the same to a data service like email.

Even worse, California was planning on making the tax retroactive to the past 5 years, so we would have been hit with 5 years of taxes all at once.
.... Why doesn't California just come out and tax the air you breath already. The sun and moon. Fuck just give your entire pay check to California. Then get a 2nd job and give them that one too.
 
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TordanGow

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What am I missing? My carrier cant block a single robo call, but they want to reclassify texts to have greater ability to block robo texts, of which I recieve none? This seems like bait and switch. Are they just greasing the wheels in order to monetize texts?
In essence yes. Do you really think they are backing this change so they get to provide a new service for free???? LOL! If you think that I have a bridge to sell you.

'Information service' classification has far fewer restrictions attached to it. Think Gmail etc. They scan your email to advertise, sell profile info, etc. A telecommunications service has privacy regulations that would prevent them from doing this. Reclassification opens the door....
 

Grimlaking

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Dude, it was already this way. They didn't reclassify it, so it's not a change, the rules are the same.




Just a click-bait headline, spiced up to set your heart a flutter :LOL:

You are absolutely correct. Here is the actual text of the release.

Media Contact: Cecilia Sulhoff, (202) 418-0587 cecilia.sulhoff@fcc.gov

For Immediate Release

FCC TAKES ACTION TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM SPAM ROBOTEXT MESSAGES WASHINGTON, December 12, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today issued a ruling rejecting requests to make it harder for text messaging providers to protect consumers from spam and scam robotexts. The Commission’s decision makes clear that wireless providers are authorized to continue their efforts to stop unwanted text messaging through robotext-blocking, anti-spoofing measures, and other anti-spam features. Text messaging has become a critical communications option for consumers with 1.77 trillion messages exchanged in the United States in 2017. Wireless messaging has become a trusted form of communication for millions of Americans in large part because wireless providers have taken measures to prevent spam and other unwanted or malicious traffic from clogging consumers’ phones. As a result of these efforts, wireless messaging remains a relatively spamfree service, with the spam rate for Short Message Service (SMS) estimated at less than 3%.

In today’s ruling, the FCC denies requests from mass-texting companies and other parties to classify text messaging services as “telecommunications services” subject to common carrier regulation under the Communications Act—a classification that would limit wireless providers’ efforts to combat spam and scam robotexts effectively. Instead, the FCC finds that two forms of wireless messaging services, SMS and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), are “information services” under the Communications Act. With this decision, the FCC empowers wireless providers to continue taking action to protect American consumers from unwanted text messages. Action by the Commission December 12, 2018 by Declaratory Ruling (FCC 18-178). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioner Rosenworcel dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements. WT Docket No. 08-7 ### Office of Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 ASL Videophone: (844) 432-2275 TTY: (888) 835-5322 Twitter: @FCC www.fcc.gov/office-media-relations

Wow that came in as a jumble but trust me it's all there.
 

nutzo

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.... Why doesn't California just come out and tax the air you breath already. The sun and moon. Fuck just give your entire pay check to California. Then get a 2nd job and give them that one too.
Please quit giving them ideas for new taxes, they come up with enough new taxes on their own. :(
 
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.... Why doesn't California just come out and tax the air you breath already. The sun and moon. Fuck just give your entire pay check to California. Then get a 2nd job and give them that one too.
Please quit giving them ideas for new taxes, they come up with enough new taxes on their own. :(
you could also do what i did:

leave the state and watch it burn to the ground from afar
 

tangoseal

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you could also do what i did:

leave the state and watch it burn to the ground from afar
As long as you (general statement) dont take your California leftist liberal despotism to a state that is free and enjoyable, complaining about how bad California was, then force the state you move to, to adopt the policies of California of which you sought to escape. Let's see.... Denver, boulder, Missoula, Bozeman, Spokane are just a few places that come to mind that have been ruined by leftist escaping thier lovely dystopia and then demanding the state they move to be forced into the bullshit policies that they ran from.

The liberal progressive pathogen is lethal to freedom and the true progressive is a literal nutcase mentally. Let everyday evidence show the true nature of these people. What is up is down and down is really up and everything offends the. There is literally nothing that doesn't offend a contemporary liberal. Literally nothing.
 

Monkey34

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In all the years I've had text messaging, I've never gotten a spam text; and this was with more than one carrier.

Didn't even know this was a problem. Calls.....well that's another thing, but that's easy to mitigate.
 

ZenDragon

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I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Either way gives one "group" some power over the other. If it happens that there some possibility that my hate speech texts get blocked I'll just start hate speaking on encrypted apps. :ROFLMAO: In all honesty, as long as 99.999% of my text messages get through, and I don't get spammed regularly, I really don't care how they classify it. If there is something I would like to keep secret there are ways to do that. Now if they start trying to block encrypted communication, then I'd have issues.

One way or the other this just seems like a power grab on behalf of some group or company that I have no control over. I almost feel like this whole ordeal, and all this back and forth is just an attempt to overwhelm the general public into complacency. If that's the case, it's definitely working.
 

lcpiper

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I'm not sure how I feel about this one. ... snip ....One way or the other this just seems like a power grab on behalf of some group or company that I have no control over............
I can tell you what this is. It's an explanation why Monkey34 above you wasn't aware that SMS spam was a problem, because it wasn't. It wasn't because the providers have always worked to prevent it. This is an example of why Ajit Pai was correct in how the FCC reclassified the internet under Title I as an information service. Had it remained under Title II, this push might have succeeded and all of us would have gotten to see just how bad SMS spam could get.

The laws are not really good right now, their is no perfect solution. Title I has it's good and bad, the same for Title II. Until congress rolls up their sleeves and re-writes the laws on these issues, the FCC and others will have to try their best to do what they can within the limits of those laws. If it's going to get fixed, privacy, net neutrality, etc, congress has to do it. Any other attempt at a fix is an imperfect kludge that hurts as much as it helps.

Of course I do realize what I'm asking for .... Congress .... do the right thing? Re-write the laws correctly? right :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

Cmdrmonkey

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The scam robocalls and scam text messages have reached epidemic proportions for me and everyone I know. I get hit with them constantly on both my personal phone and work phone. Anything the FCC can do to help combat this stuff is much appreciated.
 
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