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T-Mobile cuts off dope-finding text service

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T-Mobile has told a US court that EZ Texting was blocked for failing to notify the operator what it was doing, not because it was promoting the evil weed.

According to a filing by the operator (pdf hosted by Wired), T-Mobile USA has stopped forwarding text messages from EZ Texting because it only had an agreement to send messages promoting events at bars and clubs, but has since been using the code to punt everything from church services to the aforementioned spliff-finding service.

T-Mobile asserts that every bulk messaging service it carries is required to say what the messages are about, which tallies with what the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) guidelines say.

In the filing T-Mobile claims that in 2009 EZ Texting got permission to run a "cross carrier alerts service (10 msgs per month) designed to update consumers on events and happens [sic] at clubs and bars", and as far as T-Mobile was aware that's what EZ Texting had been doing for the last year.

But EZ Texting had actually been hawking the service to all and sundry, something it got away with until it signed up Weed Maps to provide an alert service to those seeking medical cannabis.

That attracted the attention of the US operators' trade body, the CTIA, which alerted T-Mobile, as it clearly breaches the MMA moratorium on mention of controlled substances where "a person could conclude that promotion of drug use is intended".

But that's not why T-Mobile has stopped forwarding messages sent by EZ Texting.

The operator's filing explains that it's the lies that so upset it, and that it won't forward any more messages from EZ Texting until the company provides a detailed breakdown of what services it has been providing, and what it intends to provide in the future.

EZ Texting has said that this will take so long as to drive it out of business, and claims that T-Mobile makes no such requirement of other messaging services, a claim that T-Mobile refutes.

Whether the case ever gets to court remains to be seen - one can't help imagining that EZ Texting was hoping for a quick settlement, which now seems unlikely - but either way the future looks bad for those who'd just like to get SMS notification about weed availability. ®

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