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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A little-noticed Bill before the Senate will ensure daily misery for US cellphone users, thanks to the inattentiveness of telecomms regulator the FCC.

This week the FCC ruled against spam sent to mobile users that originates from email addresses. The regulator believes that the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) already regulates SMS text messages, and that's good enough.

But a new bill, S.2603, passed by Congress (as HR.4600) two weeks ago, drives a horse and cart through the TCPA. The bill was approved by the House's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and will be considered by the floor. It removes the right of citizens to sue junk fax companies for the intrusions - currently small claims can yield $1,500 per fax - and more importantly, gives businesses the right to spam customers for seven years after a business transaction.

Unsolicited mobile messages were supposed to be covered by the CAN-SPAM Act, but the legislators gave FCC enough wiggle room to have the final word. But in the grand tradition of telecomms regulators, it has decided to do nothing instead. Isn't that what techie users are always saying that they should do? ®

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