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Vietnam to tackle spam texts, calls, emails with new draft decree

Monday, November 18, 2019, 14:42 GMT+7
Vietnam to tackle spam texts, calls, emails with new draft decree
Spam text messages are seen on a smartphone in this photo taken in Ho Chi Minh City, November 2019. Photo: Duc Thien / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is working on a draft decree which seeks to allow organizations and individuals to refuse spam calls and text messages to their phone numbers.

The draft decree on preventing spam text messages, calls, and emails and regulations on advertising has been released by MIC.

The tentative document specifies measures to deal with the issue, including building and implementing spam prevention systems, monitoring and sharing information on sources of spam messages, and monitoring the activities of advertising services.

Particularly, mobile subscribers will be able to register their numbers in a ‘do not disturb’ list to opt out of receiving spam text messages and unwanted calls.

Those who still spam texts and calls to numbers on the list will be given hefty fines of VND80-100 million (US$3,500-4,300).

Currently, effective regulations stipulate that service providers can send advertising materials only after they have secured explicit consent from recipients.

People use services at a mobile network provider’s outlet in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

People use services at a mobile network provider’s outlet in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

In addition, senders must submit a copy of the advertising materials to a system overseen by the MIC once it has been sent to recipients, as per the effective law.

The new draft seeks to allow mobile phone users to forward undesirable spam messages to the aforementioned system to report firms sending out spam.

Per the draft decree, fines of VND5-20 million ($216-864) will be imposed on those committing such violations as failure to provide enough detailed information of the sender, not giving recipients instructions on how to reject advertising calls, and charging mobile users for picking up such calls.

Spam text messages and annoying telesales phone calls are causing headaches for millions of mobile subscribers in Vietnam.

According to statistics by Vietnam’s state-run mobile network operator MobiFone, the firm intercepted and blocked more than 885,000 spam text messages sent from its 17,800 on-net mobile numbers in October 2019.

Another 2.5 million unsolicited SMS messages were sent from off-net mobile numbers to MobiFone numbers in the same month, it said.

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