Feeds

US networks: Political donations by text? Rlly nt a gud idea

We'll be on the hook for profiteering, moan operators

Top three mobile application threats

American cellular networks are unhappy with a Federal Election Commission decision to permit political donations by text message, despite the fact that such a facility could change politics entirely.

The decision was made by unanimous vote of the FEC last month, and will allow political parties and candidates to accept up to $50 a month, to a total of $200, from anonymous phone numbers. The move could broaden fundraising for increasingly expensive US elections, but Reuters tells us the cellular companies have asked the FEC for assurances they won't be held liable when it all goes horribly wrong.

Political donations in the US have to be reported if they exceed $200, but network operators are worried they'll end up being responsible for policing that cap - for ensuring that donors aren't just buying a dozen pay-as-you-go SIMs and dropping $200 on each of them to avoid making their donation public.

Not only that, but operators taking a cut of the messaging fee stand accused of political profiteering, while those who don't (by waving the fee as the operators do for some charities) are guilty of contributing to political parties that might be supported by their customers but perhaps not so popular among their shareholders.

So the network operators have, via the CTIA, asked the FEC to clarify exactly who would be responsible for what if the donation-by-text became a reality.

The idea of text donations is to open campaign coffers to the ordinary American who might be convinced to throw a couple of dollars into the (virtual) bucket, but wouldn't want to fill out a credit card form or set up a regular payment.

Proponents reckon it'll lead to greater democracy, as politicians are always answerable to those who fund them it makes sense for that funding to come from as broader base as possible, assuming the legal issues can be resolved, but fitting that within the existing legislation could prove a challenge too far. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.