Spam SMSs may rise this poll season

Spam SMSs may rise this poll season

Voters may be bombarded with spam SMSs this election season, with a new survey saying that 70% of phone users get unwanted messages despite registering themselves in the 'Do Not Disturb' section.

The menace will increase during the elections, a survey conducted by Local Circles, a community social media platform, said.

The survey was conducted to check the citizens' pulse on unwanted SMSs and how big an issue it is.

Of the more than 12,000 unique participants, 78% said they get four or more unwanted SMSs every day and 34% respondents said at least a quarter of the unwanted SMSs come from their mobile service provider itself.

Real estate, insurance and banking services are among the leading offenders, said the survey.

According to industry estimates, tens of billions of unsolicited or spam SMSs were sent every month across telecom networks making India the second most spam-infested country in the world.

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching fast, these numbers are set to increase many folds, said the survey.

"For many years now, political parties and their candidates have used mobile SMSs as a cheap form of marketing. Canvassing through SMS is a very cost-effective exercise that allows them to send vote-seeking messages to lakhs of citizens who may or may not be intended recipients. These unwanted SMSs land in the inboxes of citizens, who then feel spammed," said the Local Circles.

With the election around the corner and political parties planning their campaigns with full steam, it is clear that the regulator will have to take some tough steps to make sure that citizens get some respite from spam and unwanted SMSs in India.

The big question is, 'Will this menace persist and only increase in the coming months?' said Local Circles.

The TRAI in May 2018 had released its Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation 2018, which is specifically designed to counter the menace of unwanted SMSs.

This regulation requires that customer consent be explicitly recorded by a third party and be activated only after subscribers' confirmation. But apparently, spammers have happily been flouting rules, Local Circles said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox