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FCC Takes Aim at Text Messaging As a Way to Control Spam

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Nov 21, 2018, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

The FCC may hand wireless carriers another victory over consumers next month if it decides to reclassify text messages. The FCC is weighing methods to reduce robocalls and spam messages. On the robocall front, the FCC will propose to create a database of reassigned numbers. In theory, legitimate callers can check the list to see if the party they intend to reach is still available at a given number. If the number has been reassigned, callers cannot dial that number until the new owner gives them permission to. Only legitimate businesses would have access to the database. As for text messages, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai believes reclassifying text messages as a telecommunications service, rather than an information service, will help reduce unwanted messages. Such a change, if granted, would give carriers more power to control messaging services through robotext-blocking and anti-spoofing measures. The FCC sees this as a positive for consumers, but public advocacy groups disagree. Giving carriers more control over messaging could impact how and when messages are sent and receive, which could lead to harm. The FCC will discuss the issue at its December meeting.

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