Spam

Millions of people apparently get just as impatient or inconvenienced by these messages, so much so that one congressman has proposed the removal of all spam messages forever.

August 2, 2022

Lately — or maybe it was from having too much time in your hands with less distractions over the last two and a half years — you may have noticed the frequency of dubious messages invading your mobile space.

I have gotten a fair share of text messages saying I had won a prize in a raffle I never joined. Or an offer for a job I never applied for.

Sometimes, I get ones that aim to agitate me into clicking a link to check if my account had been breached. Too bad for them, I have no such bank account they mentioned.

Annoying are the marketing emails that keep my inbox full to overflowing. Sometimes, these are harmless newsletters or offers from companies who somehow got a hold of my email address. These days, my phone pings a lot for emails or messages offering games or contests with big prizes, or promoting sites with no relevance to my life.

These are spam, or what is defined by Oxford as “irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients,” but which really can refer nowadays to any promotional push that you don’t want or need.

Millions of people apparently get just as impatient or inconvenienced by these messages, so much so that one congressman has proposed the removal of all spam messages forever.

The proposal that requires the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to a particular owner was refiled on 30 June at the House of Representatives.

Authored by Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez, Ilocos 1st District Representative Alexander Marcos and Tingog partylist Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre, House Bill (HB) 14 is basically about registering SIM cards.

A similar measure was vetoed by former president Rodrigo Duterte months before he stepped down from Malacañang, citing the need for further study of the proposal.

At the time, an item on social media registration targeting trollers was the main focus.

From hacking to spam to phishing and what strange new word it has bred, regulating aspects of the tech world has honestly stumped many Filipinos, but an increasing incidence of cybercrimes has led to more efforts to understand the ins and outs of this new “world.”

One thing that can be done is for telecommunications companies to exert more of such efforts to educate users on how to recognize and avoid scammers.

Telcos had been noted for having “removed millions of spam messages and deactivated thousands of phone numbers which could have been solved by requiring the registration of SIM cards,” the House measure said in its explanatory notes, as quoted in reports.

“On one hand, the affordability and accessibility of SIM cards have resulted in the democratization of mobile communications, possibly contributing to a more leveled playing field in terms of employment, education, and access to public information.”

“On the other hand, having an unregulated SIM card market has also given way to several mobile phone scams,” it further said.

Regulating SIM cards gives rise to the usual fears, stemming from how a person’s information may be used. The same way the national ID issue raged on for years, this one arises from paranoia on the invasion or abuse of one’s privacy.

Either that, or people are simply tired of being thrown for a loop by bad eggs in our society, whether these are scammers, schemers or skanks.


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