India’s got the right idea. They’re fighting mobile spam by limiting outoing text messages to 100 per day.
If you’re like any other poor, helpless, unsuspecting mobile user, you’ve been inundated by your fair share of mobile spam. The best of the bunch include an option to opt out of their string of mindless marketing messages, but that doesn’t reduce the pain of receiving their untargeted phone ads at all hours of the day (and night). India has had enough of scam artists jumping on the text message spam bandwagon, so to help get things back to normal, they’ve capped the maximum number of outgoing messages to 100 per user per day.
The idea is a good one. It adds an enormous admin hurdle for spammers who, until now, have been able to send 1,230,230,183,117,208 messages (or more) from any mobile number of their choice. It won’t stop the serious spammers but it’s going to insert a major thorn in their side, forcing them to use hundreds or thousands of different numbers to be able to send more than 100 messages per day.
Leading up to this move by Indian regulators, the country had attempted to deal with mobile spam by implementing a national ‘don’t call’ database. Users are able to sign up for the service for free but it doesn’t technically stop spammers from spamming those numbers anyway. India’s lawmakers also banned commercial messages during the hours of 9pm and 9am. But again, this wasn’t a physical limitation on the sending of messages. Violators of the ‘don’t call’ list and timezone restrictions are subject to a fine – but this requires active monitoring and enforcement. So the reality is that spamming has continued unhindered, until now.
With over 700 million mobile subscribers, India has a massive base of users that are ripe fruit for any spammer worth his salt. While this move won’t win the war, it’ll got a long way to winning one of the battles along the way.