US body seeks comments on mobile phone spam

The US Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on protecting mobile-phone customers from unwanted e-mail and text...

The US Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on protecting mobile-phone customers from unwanted e-mail and text messages.

The FCC's notice of proposed rulemaking comes in response to the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (Can-Spam) Act of 2003, which went into effect in January.

Can-Spam requires the FCC to create rules to protect consumers from unwanted commercial messages on their mobile devices.

The FCC has asked for comments on several mobile spam issues.

It wants to know whether senders have the ability to determine if a message is going to a mobile device, and methods to enable the sender to make this determination.

For instance, the FCC could determine whether there should be a list of, or standard naming convention for, domain names, or an individual registry of e-mail addresses.

The FCC is also looking for comments on automatic challenge-response mechanisms that alert senders they are sending their message to mobile subscribers.

It wants to know to provide mobile subscribers with the ability to avoid receiving commercial messages sent without their prior consent, and how to opt out of receiving future mobile service commercial messages from specific senders.

Lastly, the FCC wants to ascertain whether commercial mobile providers should be exempt from having to obtain express prior authorisation before sending a commercial message to their customers.

"American consumers have every right to expect that their cell phones will be spam-free zones," said FCC chairman Michael Powell.

"With this broad proceeding, we comply with Congress' mandate, pursuant to the Can-Spam Act of 2003, to protect consumer and businesses from the cost, inefficiencies, and inconveniences of unwanted messages sent to their wireless devices."

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

Read more on IT legislation and regulation