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Friday, March 21, 2014

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone now working with the UK Information Commissioner's Office to tackle text spam

The UK’s major mobile network operators and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are now all using the GSMA’s Spam Reporting Service to deal with unwanted SMS text messages. Although networks have offered spam reporting services for several years, the involvement of the ICO will increase the likelihood of offenders being identified and fined rather than simply being blocked.

Customers connected to EE, O2, Three and Vodafone can report nuisance text messages by forwarding them to a free-of-charge short code: 7726 (which spells ‘SPAM’ on most alphanumeric keypads). This service is managed by online security company Cloudmark, which started running the GSMA’s SMS spam service in 2010.

Messages are aggregated and analysed, with information shared in real time to ensure the effect of attacks can be minimised. Rogue senders can then be shut down.

John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd, said “Increasing numbers of consumers are victims of spam and mobile network operators are working hard defending against these threats. The GSMA Spam Reporting Service provides operators with a tool to measure the extent of fraud and phishing and provides the insight needed to address sophisticated messaging threats that could harm users. 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 GSMA says future plans for the Spam Reporting Service could include extending it to address nuisance calls.

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