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From today, all PC dialler programs in Germany must dial only through 09009 numbers. All other numbers (including 0190 and 0900 numbers) are deemed illegal, according to a new decree by the German Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts.

With these measures the watchdog aims to end the growing abuse of call numbers. Internet users can now simply block access to 09009 numbers.

In Germany phone fraudsters have raked in €300 per call by using programs that secretly dial expensive numbers, sometimes even to foreign countries. Since most phone companies share revenues with service providers, rogue diallers seem to make good money.

The German site Dialerschutz recently warned against diallers which connect through Emsat, Eutelsat's satellite system which provides telephony and data services to regions where terrestrial cellular networks have not yet penetrated. Apparently, Emsat also has a shared-revenue model.

Earlier this year the Regulatory Authority cancelled the registration of almost 400,000 diallers and ordered the immediate disconnection of call numbers under the new Act on the Abuse of Value Added Services. "By taking this steps we make it quite clear that we shall not accept any grey area on the dialler market", said Matthias Kurth, president of the authority. &regl

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