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Political Spam Texts: Is there anything we can do to stop ’em?

Back in 2008, Barack Obama made history when he announced Joe Biden as his vice president via text. But his campaign texting may have opened a Pandora ’s Box we will all soon regret.

Political spam texts this year are starting to spread like wildfire. Folks in Wisconsin recently got them declaring one candidate “a union puppet.” In Michigan, they received untraceable spam texts bashing Mitt Romney for his comments on the poor. In fact, Romney’s been labeled the “King of Political Spam”, because 45% of all unwanted political spam name checks him, according to the cyber security firm, BitDefender.

So shouldn’t there be a law about this kind of thing?

The “Do Not Call” list from the 1990’s was supposed to put an end to unwanted, unsolicited calls. The Feds even revised their rules to say a call and a text were basically the same thing.

The problem is, these annoying political texts aren’t texts at all; they’re emails sent to phone numbers by adding an SMS gateway. That’s what comes after the @ sign in an email address. By adding @vtext.com to a Verizon phone number, for example, spammers can send you an email that looks like a text.

The FCC’s Can-Spam Act of 2003 won’t stop the spam either. It only banned unsolicited “commercial” messages, not political ones.

So what can we do to stop them?

First, never send a “stop” message as a reply to spam. That just confirms to the spammers your number is a working cell phone.

Second, keep your phone number off message boards. If they don’t know your number, they can’t text you.

Third, make sure websites you ‘do’ give your number to don’t have a policy of selling that information.

And if it all gets too bad, call the Federal Communications Commission (1-888-TELL-FCC) and complain. They are really the only ones who can change the rules.

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2012 by in NewsFix Now.
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