Text spam joins telemarketing

Text spam has joined telemarketing as the things about phone service that everyone hates.  Everyone except the telemarketers and spammers, that is.

Mobile Spam Texts Hit 4.5 Billion Raising Consumer Ire [BloombergBusinessWeek]

What’s worse is that so much telemarketing has, and soon for sure the texting spam will have, forged phone numbers.  And the phone companies don’t care … they just let it happen (because they make money from telemarketers and no doubt from the text spammers as well).

Here’s what I think is needed to start solving this problem:

A law to require all phone companies to validate all caller ID info at the point where the call enters the phone carrier networks.  If the call has caller ID blocked, that’s OK (see below).  If the call has caller ID number info, that number must be checked against the number of the line it comes through.  If that is a match, allow it to go through.  If it is not a match, look up the account the line belongs to and see if the number is the ONE number that customer is allowed present as caller ID and which has also been regularly verified (at least every 3 months) as one which the public can reach a real human being at.

This law shall also require all phone companies to allow customers to block calls from “no number available” as well as any numbers they provide.

The only allowed exceptions are cases where the law recognizes a need for caller anonymity.  For example calls placed from a Protective Shelter via a supervised (but not monitored) phone line (supervision to prevent it from being used to cause abuses).

Of course, it would be better to outlaw telemarketing altogether.  But that would be a hard thing to have done, given the free speech issues.  Even outlawing autodialing would be great, and even that would be hard to get politicians to go for.  So, for the time being, I propose the above law so that at least we can have a better means to get back at the scammers that are forging phone numbers.

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