Commissioner raids mobile miscreants

20 Jul 2007

In an effort to crack down on scammers sending unsolicited text messages, the Data Protection Commissioner has carried out a series of “raids” on mobile marketing companies.

Although the companies being searched have fully complied with the Data Commissioner’s investigation, this follows on the heels of a large number of complaints from mobile phone users receiving text messages they claim they never agreed to.

The Commissioner is currently sorting through stacks of information in a bid to prosecute the companies that have either sent or allowed to be sent ‘unsolicited communications’ to subscribers, or have failed to comply with privacy legislation.

“I am determined that all involved in this sector will fully respect the privacy of mobile phone subscribers and will not send marketing messages where the person has not sought them,” said Billy Hawkes, Data Protection Commissioner.

“Where we find sufficient evidence of such offences, we will prosecute them. I hope that the actions of my office will send a strong message to all involved in the sector about the necessity of compliance with the law.”

Hawkes has warned companies involved in this illegal practice that more “raids” will be conducted as necessary.

To further matters next week, the Data Protection Commissioner also plans to go into talks with ComReg (the Commission for Communications Regulations), as well as all four Irish mobile operators to make sure that companies with these illegal operations don’t get access to a mobile network.

These talks also aim to ensure that legitimate mobile marketing companies don’t suffer the consequences of scammers taking advantage of this sector.

By Marie Boran