The great firewall of China has since the beginning of the Internet age prevented people there from accessing many international news sites. And while there are welcome signs that the centrally-supervised ISPs may be loosening their control a little on the inbound side, there doesn’t seem to be too much effort to tighten up on the outbound side, and text messages to cell phones in China seems fertile ground for spammers.
China Mobile and China Unicom between them account for over 500 million active cell phone accounts, and recently more than 200 million of these users received a stream of unwanted and unwelcome advertisements as text messages – cell phone spam. China Mobile apologized for the messages, and promised to prevent them in future by blocking all text messages from seven companies who focus on online advertising.
Liu Yue, deputy head of the wonderfully-named State Council Office for Rectifying Malpractice, told off both spammers and cellular providers, saying they should “beef up self-scrutiny to correct their wrongdoing, which is profit driven in defiance of public interests.”
Sharp words indeed. Let’s hope that some of that Rectifying Malpractice ire is turned on China’s email spammers, with some sharp teeth added for those who cannot or will not self-police. Perhaps the Golden Shield technology that scans data entering China for banned words could be adapted to prevent “Make Money Fast” emails from exiting the country. Wouldn’t that be poetic; the same dynamic control that limits the access of China’s citizens to “unhealthy material” could reduce worldwide spam by around 10%.
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