The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

FCC Taking Steps to Protect Consumers from Robotexts

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Much like robocalls to cell phones, text messaging scams are on the increase. This was one of the reasons the Fresno County Department of Social Services issued a warning on December 5, 2018, that anyone receiving a text message prompting its clients to call a number and provide information that could allow another individual access to their CalWORKs account, could be the subject of a scam.

What makes such scams so frustrating is that text messaging has become a trusted and reliable form of communications for many Americans.  According to a CTIA National Tracking poll conducted by Morning Consult on November 15, 2016, “Ninety-three percent of surveyed consumers believe wireless messaging is a trusted communications environment.”  However, this could all change if wireless providers are prohibited from limiting spam text messages, which is what would happen if the Federal Communications Commission classified text messages as a telephone service under Title II of the Communications Act.

In 2015, Twilio asked the FCC to do just that.  Citizens Against Government Waste weighed in against this move, stating that “Under the current regulatory structure, wireless carriers have been able to provide protection to consumers from unwanted spam text messages through various filtering technologies.  In addition, the wireless industry has implemented the Common Short Code program that requires an opt-in for commercial campaigns.” 

The FCC plans to issue a declarative ruling on December 12, 2018, to classify text messaging services as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act.  By making this declarative ruling, the FCC will take an important step in allowing wireless messaging providers to protect consumers from such scams through the application of robotext-blocking, anti-spoofing measures, and adding other anti-spam features to their offerings.

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