FCC votes to allow service providers to block texts in effort to fight spam

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday voted to classify text messages as an information service, allowing mobile carriers to block texts in a move that supporters say will help crack down on spam messages.
 
The proposal was passed in a 3-1 party-line vote, with the lone Democratic commissioner opposing the move.
 
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The order makes clear that Short Message Service (SMS) is an information service as opposed to a telecommunications service, which would carry with it a common carrier designation prohibiting wireless providers from blocking or discriminating against users.
 
It's similar to how the FCC deregulated internet service providers in overturning its Obama-era net neutrality rules. The commission voted along party lines last year to rid broadband providers of the common carrier tag by classifying them as information services and in the process rolling back protections against discrimination against certain websites.
 
"Today’s decision offers consumers no new ability to prevent robotexts," Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the proposal, said in a statement. "It simply provides that carriers can block our text messages and censor the very content of those messages themselves. Calling this decision anything else is just doublespeak.”
 
"The FCC shouldn’t make it easier for spammers and scammers to bombard consumers with unwanted texts. And we shouldn’t allow unwanted messages to plague wireless messaging services in the same way that unwanted robocalls flood voice services," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "But that’s precisely what would happen if we were to classify text messaging services as telecommunications services and subject them to common-carrier regulation under Title II, as mass-texting companies and others have asked us to do."