Indonesia clamps down on SMS spam

Melissa Chua
01 Apr 2011

Senders of unsolicited marketing-themed text messages in Indonesia now risk getting their numbers barred from reaching unwilling consumers.

A spokesperson for the country’s regulatory body (BRTI), said mobile phone users can now lodge complaints with both the BRTI and their respective mobile operators to get spam senders’ numbers barred from further contact.

A Bakrie Telecom spokesman told TelecomAsia that the operator already had a spam barring system up and running– customers would need to send a text containing a spammer’s number to the operator in order for it to be blocked.

The BRTI is also working with Indonesia’s central bank to curb the deluge of unsolicited text messages, of which banks are a major source. The country’s central bank had received over 11,000 complaints regarding spam from banks since January last year.

A central bank spokesperson however told the Jakarta Globe that banks held no authority over the marketing methods employed by third-party agencies which banks outsourced their advertising activities to.

It is too early to tell if the latest allowances will have any impact on stemming the flow of intrusive text advertisements in the country. According to the Jakarta Globe, a 2009 consumer protection decree that stated content providers include an unsubscribe number in text advertisements or face fines and suspensions did little to alleviate the situation.

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