by Max Brantley
Complete with cutesy headline, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor plunges into one of the pressing issues of the day. War? No. Gas prices? No. Right-wing Supreme Court justices? No. Health insurance? No. Declining earning power? No.
Junk text messages is what.
Perhaps, since I don't own a cell phone, I'm out of touch with the importance of this issue.
Note that the office helpfully translates the text-style headline for the rest of us.
MARK PRYOR NEWS RELEASE
FYI: Senators Join 2gether 2 Comb@ Jnk Txt Msgz :)
(Senators Join Together to Combat Junk Text Messages)
Washington, DC – Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) teamed up to introduce legislation to put an end to the growing number of spam text messages Americans receive on their cell phones. Their bill, the Junk Text Message Prevention Act, would ensure that spam text messages are in the scope of the Do-Not-Call registry.
“It’s time to stop the relentless attack of wireless spam,” said Smith. “It is a nuisance which can strike at the pocketbooks of cell phone users at anytime. Spammers are constantly finding new ways to hassle consumers. First it was your fax machine, then your email and now it’s your cell phone. Our legislation will empower cell phone users and bring an end to this practice.”
“Consumers are being bombarded with unsolicited calls and e-mails at every turn. Now even your cell phone isn’t safe from spam – and the fact that many wireless subscribers are actually charged for receiving these unsolicited text messages just adds insult to injury,” said Nelson. “This legislation will give consumers the ability to stop these spammers from invading their cell phones.”
“Cell phones are becoming part of our everyday life, but unwanted text messages don’t have to be,” Pryor said. “I’m pleased to team up with Senators Smith, Nelson and Snowe to help put an end to anonymous, costly and sometimes indecent spam.”
“The use of wireless cell phones has changed the way the world communicates,” Senator Snowe said. “Yet is has also opened the floodgates for unsolicited advertisers and warrantless spam. Consumers must have the power to block these invasive and costly spammers from taking advantage of this thriving industry. We’ve taken this step with telephone spammers, the same should be done for cell phone users.”
According to market research, more than one billion text messages are sent every day in the U.S. In 2006, American consumers received 800 million spam text messages. That number grew to 1.1 billion in 2007 and is projected to grow to 1.5 billion in 2008. Not only is wireless spam a nuisance, but it is often costly for consumers. Unlike email spam, junk text messages can incur fees for consumers - ranging from two cents to as much as 10 cents per received text message, depending on the cell phone provider.
Junk Text Message Prevention Act would:
· Clarify and strengthen the powers given to the Federal Communication Commission and Federal Trade Commission to curb unwanted text messages
· Provide additional consumer protections by strictly prohibiting commercial text messages to wireless numbers listed on the Do-Not-Call registry