Senate Bill Seeks Default Blocking of Unsolicited Messages to Fight Spam

No more scam texts.
Photo/s: Unsplash

A measure has been filed in the Senate allowing telco subscribers to "opt-out" or block push messages by default to help address the proliferation of spam texts containing job ads and other unsolicited offers.

In filing Senate Bill 2460, Sen. Joel Villanueva said the government needs to take an affirmative action against text "smishing", which lures consumers and jobseekers into giving away personal information through links sent to them through SMS.

Under the measure, subscribers are opted out from push messages by default, and their prior and explicit consent is needed before they can receive commercial and promotional advertisements.

It's also prohibited to make unsolicited calls or text messages unless the person behind it discloses his or her full name, and the company or organization he or she represents.

An "opt-out" mechanism should also be provided for subscribers who do not want to receive unsolicited messages.

The measure defines spam messages as either one of the following:

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  1. Not initiated by the recipient of the call or message containing commercial promotions or advertisements and did not opt-in to receive the same;
  2. Causes an installation of programs on the subscriber's device without consent;
  3. Contains false or misleading electronic representations redirecting to websites, chat platforms, etc. and
  4. Triggers the collection of personal information by accessing an electronic device illegally.

Concerned government agencies, including the National Telecommunications Commission, the National Privacy Commission, and the National Bureau of Investigation are mandated under the bill to improve efforts to protect the data privacy of the public.

"This bill will redound to the benefit of millions of subscribers who will have the freedom to choose with whom they shall transact, and will reduce, if not eliminate, the proliferation of potentially risky and harmful unsolicited calls or messages," Villanueva said.

The senator urged authorities to step up its vigilance against those sending spam messages.

"Hinihikayat po natin ang mga awtoridad na tugisin ang mga pasimuno ng ganitong modus upang hindi malinlang ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga naghahanap ng trabaho," he said.

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