UK Operators And ICO Team Up With GSMA To Fight Nuisance Texts

EE, O2, Three, Vodafone and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are working together to prevent nuisance text messages spreading across the UK’s four major mobile networks by signing up to the GSMA Spam Reporting Service.

Users will be able to report text messages without charge to 7726, or ‘SPAM’, with the GSMA’s platform able to aggregate and analyse details of the offending messages to identify patterns and the origins of the attacks.

Spam texts

This information will be shared with the operators so they can block the senders of the spam, while they will also work together so that an attack detected on one network is isolated and can’t spread to another operator’s service. Smartphone users on Virgin Media, an MVNO which operates on EE’s network, will also be able to report spam.

“Increasing numbers of consumers are victims of spam and mobile network operators are working hard defending against these threats,” says GSMA CEO John Hoffman. ““Increasing numbers of consumers are victims of spam and mobile network operators are working hard defending against these threats. By working closely with the ICO, the UK’s operators are making it more difficult for spammers and fraudsters to target mobile phone users in this country.”

“The real-time information about spam attacks we are now receiving from the UK operators is helping us to quickly identify breaches in the Privacy of Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), track down perpetrators and issue monetary penalties against them,” adds Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the telecoms watchdog, ICO.

The operators and the ICO will also look at ways of extending the initiative to cover nuisance calls, with the UK’s data privacy watchdog permitted to hand out massive fines for infringements. In 2012, the ICO issued a £440,000 fine to two men running a spam texting operation.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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