back to article ICSTIS wants your views on anonymous SMS

UK premium-rate regulator ICSTIS has published a consultation document on anonymous SMS services, and is looking for feedback by 7 September. A few services will, for a fee, send an SMS message anonymously - for the purposes of flirting or practical jokes. ICSTIS said it's only ever had one complaint about misuse of such …

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Anonymous Coward

Having built one of these services

Having actually built a 'excuses' service which you could setup from a web page to text you at a predetermined time with a predetermined header I'd have to agree with ICSTIS. The service would send e.g.

from: 'Dad'

msg: Hi son, come quickly, your Nan's cat is stuck up the stree again

Which is all perfectly fun when you're on a date with a chick you don't want to stand up but want an excuse to exit from if it's going badly.

But consider someone who knows your mobile number sending...

from: 'Dad'

msg: Hi son, come quickly, your Nan's been hit by a car

Now it's not fun but all you know is the text came from 'Dad' .. there's no shortcode in the header to link it to a serviceprovider and mobile networks are utterly shite/incompetent/unwilling when it comes to resolving a header to a shortcode. In other words you'll never know who sent you that unpleasant message.

In general, how many time have you received a WAP Push (service message) or a text from 'notanumber' and not been able to find out where it came from because the network can't resolve it to a shortcode?

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Anonymous Coward

What do the police think?

Doesn't UK law get written by the police now? So shouldn't you ask them how many crimes they want out of the sending of anonymous SMSs before you go asking the public?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/drugs/Story/0,,2137821,00.html

Don't blame me I voted for Detective Inspector Krang.

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'Callers might also switch off calling line ID'

That doesn't work for SMS.

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Only if recipients can opt-out of receiving all 'anonymous' rubbish, FOC

Ideal for anyone who just wants to annoy.

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Re police think

The problem with today's quota orientated cops is why bother going after the people smugglers, the gangsters and burglars where you catch about one for three month's work, when instead of some easy pickings off the street? You get to become inspector by handing out fines for littering without moving your fat, worthless arse from outside the burger van.

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Barking up the wrong tree

> msg: Hi son, come quickly, your Nan's cat is stuck up the stree again.

Maybe it got chased up there by a CDAWG?

http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1570866703000649

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Silver badge

No to anonymous SMS

I'm already mighty miffed that, despite the fact that I turned off receiving ads, I still get promotional drivel from my operator. So I am REALLY NOT interested in getting yet more inane babble from some entity I'm not even sure I know.

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Absolute madness

I can see absolutely no legitimate reason for anonymous SMS apart from abuse, which even ICSTIS acknowledge in their consultation document. Any technological safeguards will be circumvented and SMS will be degraded from a fairly trustworthy system to no better than that of spam swamped email.

Surely ICTSIS has enough to do with TV quiz lines ripping people off left right and centre, without having to try to create an entirely new mess to step in an regulate?

I suggest everyone fires off a message to mcollins@icstis.org.uk telling him what a truly stupid idea this is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Callers might also switch off calling line ID'

It did on EastEnders LOL!!

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Paying for them?

In the US, most plans make you pay for incoming text messages. Which has pissed me off on a few occasions when I've received spam messages.

Is there a "Do Not Text" list? We actually need one in the US. Of course, we also need a Do Not Fax list, but that's been killed several times.

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ICSTIS - a regulator doing it's job

"All this smacks slightly of a regulator looking for something to regulate[...]" says the author of this piece.

No - this smacks of a regulator seeing a potential problem and considering potential remedies, then asking the public for their views.

I'm certain such anonymous text services are abused, but those on the receiving end don't complain, perhaps because they don't know how to do so.

Frankly I'm not in favour of any anonymous text services at all. Sure, the joke might be funny, but the potential for abuse outweighs a cheap laugh.

Anyway if you want to send a joke text to someone, use a third person's mobile. Or if you want to be really harsh, swap round some numbers in their contacts so that when you text them it comes up as the girl or guy they've got a crush on. It can work an absolute treat.

Or if you really want to be a **** then swap round girlfriend/boyfriend's number with that of mum/dad. Though that is well below the belt, and things might well get ugly. Ah... the joy of texts.

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Urgent message

Sir Alistair get home quick, your mother's being ripped off with another TV phone-in quiz scam.

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Anonymous texting...

You send me anonymous/junk texts and I break your fucking fingers. How's that for a response? Too subtle?

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Just wait

In this political correct hell hole that Britain is becoming this will continue and you wlil get them as the next wave of spam / sales / market research junk this way.

Until one day either a "racist" or a "terrorist" start to use it, then the Govt will step in and take control. Blame ICSTIS for not acting sooner, scape goat them instead of society for just being pants and voila. Problem solved.

Imagine.

From - Police

Message - Terrorist strike in your area, get out quickly.

Or worse...

They should ban anonymous anything, it'll only end up with stalkers and wierdo's using it to stalk lonely girls, only to have the phone providers drag their feet over the issue and it fail in court as evidence because of a bygone law that infringes on make believe human rights that state someone can commit a crime but can't be arrested or given a slap as that infringes on their right to commit the crime in the first place. Or worse, the judge is so senile he lets off the offender because he is out of touch with the real world and all the prisons are full.

Lunacy....

I seem to have ranted... apologies.

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@ Kevin Hall

"You send me anonymous/junk texts and I break your fucking fingers. How's that for a response? Too subtle?"

Err... I think you might be missing the point here Kevin. If the text is anonymous then the texter can stay anonymous too. In which case you're left with the dilemma of which fucking fingers to break.

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which f*cking fingers to break.

"In which case you're left with the dilemma of which fucking fingers to break"

The fingers of any of the companies who are prepared to accept money to send the anonymous texts on behalf of these idiots. Pick a finger.

Opera Telecom

M X Telecom

MBLOX Ltd

The same companies that also make millions of pounds every year by sending unsolicited reverse billed (theft to me and you) text messages on behalf of anonymous third parties registered in the British Virgin Islands.

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Anonymous Coward

re: which f*cking fingers to break.

Opera Telecom, M X Telecom, and I presume MBLOX Ltd are just aggregators - they mostly provide the abililty to send and recieve text messages to other companies - they dont usually run the services themselves.

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