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Data Protection Commission

Data Protection Commissioner, Regtel and Mobile Telecommunications Companies join forces to beat Mobile Spam


The Regulator for Premium Rate Telecommunications, Pat Breen and the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes have today announced enhanced efforts to deal with the problems posed to consumers by unsolicited premium rate text messages. This follows very positive recent engagement with all four mobile telecommunications operators, Meteor, O2, 3 and Vodafone.

Billy Hawkes and Pat Breen have made clear their commitment to working together and using the full resources of their Offices to ensure that the rights of consumers who do not wish to receive such messages are respected.  "Where someone asks via text message to stop receiving such messages, the messages must be stopped as required by law," said Billy Hawkes, Data Protection Commissioner.   

Each Office had already commenced high level investigations using the full powers given to them to ensure that those service providers offering premium rate text based services who did not wish to abide by the law and good practice would not be able to continue to break the law.

As part of these efforts, they are now pleased to announce that following recent high level contact between their Offices and the four mobile phone companies, a common understanding was reached of how their Offices and the mobile companies can work together in the interests of consumers under the current regulatory framework. This will include, amongst other things,

  • measures to exchange relevant information in respect of the investigation of offences in this area, and
  • efforts to ensure that premium rate text messages carried by the mobile network operators on behalf of service providers to subscribers have the prior consent of those subscribers.  

Billy Hawkes indicated, "Pat Breen and I know that the mobile network operators share our concerns and they don't want their customers to receive unwanted text messages. Neither do they wish for the reputation of the whole sector to be damaged by the actions of a very small number of service providers operating in what is otherwise a very legitimate sector."