[LINK] mobile phone spam

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Sun Jun 15 15:10:53 AEST 2008

On 15/06/2008, at 2:07 PM, Craig Sanders wrote:

> On Sun, Jun 15, 2008 at 11:37:58AM +1000, Ivan Trundle wrote:

>> The problem here is that it should be abundantly clear that 99% of
>> these 'services' are all based on a *subscription* model
> no, the problem is that it is NOT abundantly clear.

That's why I wrote 'IT SHOULD BE'...

> how many people would sign up for that kind of on-going expense for
> worthless crap like ring-tones or mobile phone porn or numerology or
> chat services if they had any idea how much it was going to cost?

It's clear that there are people who do. And who are willing to pay.  
Google '1900 premium services' and you'll see a wide variety of them,  
from legal advice to horoscopes and sex lines, and member services for  
professional bodies. A good little earner, by all accounts.

> most people who sign up are probably doing it for a laugh on impulse
> when they're pissed, thinking that they're only spending a couple of
> bucks on a novelty, without realising that they're subscribing to a
> stupidly expensive service that is very difficult to unsubscribe from.

That's quite a generalisation, and making broad assumptions about the  
intelligence of a mobile phone user.

> i know one person who got suckered by one of these scams ... [who]  
> was only 14 years old

A good target market: those few teenagers that have post-paid plans on  
their mobile phone. Most have pre-paid, which gets quickly swallowed  
up with subscription services. However, I still assert that many  
teenagers now know about this, whereas a year or so ago many would not.

>> What would work better than STOP?
> laws that prohibited implied subscription, i.e. that required an overt
> and explicit subscription request. with civil fines AND criminal
> penalties for business owners, senior management, and company  
> directors
> who flout the law.

The legislation you are referring to exists under rules and a code of  
practice devised by ACMA: Telecommunications Service Provider (Mobile  
Premium Services) Determination 2005 (No.1)... though why a 'senior  
manager' should be held directly liable is an interesting departure  
from business law.

"The Determination makes provision for mobile carrriage service  
providers and content service providers to develop a self-regulatory  
scheme that contains rules about providing mobile customers with clear  
and transparent information about the costs and terms and conditions  
on which mobile premium services are offered, and about handling of  
complaints about mobile premium services."

Just a shame that it's self-regulatory, but then it was Howard's Way...

They've set up a body to deal with this:


(I referred to this site when my daughter and I began to explore these  
things, after her phone pre-paid service got swallowed up by a  
ringtone provider)

> and fines & jail time for taking more than 1 business day to process
> an unsubscribe instruction

Could prove interesting to get this legislated, given the current  
leniency that white-collar crime generally receives. The  
Telecommunications Act 1997 is already voluminous at 640 pages:


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