[LINK] mobile phone spam

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Tue Jun 17 07:06:01 AEST 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 02:54:20PM +1000, Pilcher, Fred wrote:
> Stephen wrote: 
> > So, a very small change in the legislation would make SMS 
> > text-spams also covered by the existing do-not-call 
> > legislation, and therefore illegal.
> > 
> > Let's see someone try to scam money from an illegal SMS spam 
> > then! Provided people DNC-enter their mobile number, with a 
> > very small law-ammendment, all such uninitiated mobile SMS 
> > spam would be illegal (scam or not). One could completely 
> > ignore SMS spam, and if Telstra etc deduct mobile account 
> > funds, then they would be aiding & abetting an illegal act. 
> > SMS scams etc solved?
> Roll on the day. I must be incredibly naive to have thought that this
> scam would already be illegal. The bad guys have it easy.

it certainly is illegal.  it's fraud in the same way that sending
invoices to companies for bogus goods or services is fraud.

at the very least, the "premium" SMSes are an *unsolicited* service,
and you are under no obligation whatsoever to pay for unsolicited goods
or services.  The telcos should not be passing on any charges for
unsolicited services.

my bet is that the problem is entirely due to a complete lack of any
security or authentication mechanisms in the "subscription" process -
effectively enabling the SMS scammer (aka Premium Service Provider) to
decide who their customers are with or without their consent.

the fact that it's technically possible doesn't make it legal. robbing a
bank is technically possible, and that's still illegal.  of course, the
fact that something is illegal doesn't stop people doing it, and it
doesn't necessarily stop people getting away with it.

the telcos, of course, have no incentive to do anything about it or
even care because they get their cut. the way i see it, that makes them
willing accomplices in the fraud.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

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