Wireless Industry Backs Petition For Ruling on Unwanted Political Texting

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By Paul Barbagallo  

CTIA-The Wireless Association lent support to a petition by Revolution Messaging LLC for a declaratory ruling by the FCC that will limit the number of unwanted political campaign text messages.

In the petition, Revolution has asked the agency to clarify that internet-to-phone text-messaging technology is an “automatic telephone dialing system” within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, reasoning that millions of mobile phone users could be charged for unsolicited text messages during political campaign seasons.

“[CTIA] supports the petition's goal of reducing unwanted political campaign text messages sent to mobile devices, regardless of the technology used to send those messages,” the group wrote in a filing posted to the FCC's website Nov. 26. “Such unwanted text messages are disruptive and potentially costly to wireless customers, and they are burdensome to carriers that must expend substantial resources to handle customer inquiries and complaints. Although wireless carriers are working diligently and proactively to protect their customers against all types of spam, including through the use of robust spam filters and other tools, combating political campaign text messages remains an ongoing challenge.”

The CTIA said the FCC should confirm that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires parties to obtain “prior express consent” before sending political campaign text messages to mobile devices.

The Voter Participation Center also backed the petition.

“We understand that many voters are receiving spam text messages from an organization that they do not recognize or support,” the group wrote. “Although a text message may seem inconsequential, these individual messages have a real cost: both financially and in terms of how voters view the electoral process. Additionally, these text message abuses threaten to sour voters on what is a very promising technology.”

The TCPA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and implemented by the FCC in 1992.

Filings in Docket 02-278 can be found at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment_search/input?z=qglon.

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