Spam, the curse we can regulate

May 18, 2020 • edited May 19, 2020

The spam , the method most widely used in recent years for economic, effective and direct to reach their target. In turn, one of the many reasons why every user who has an email or a cell phone cries out for solutions.

It all started with spam via email, but little by little the phone companies were introducing the same method through their text message (SMS) services. As for email, unfortunately in the Dominican Republic there are no laws or regulations beyond that supposed international standard that requires that each message of the so-called “email marketing” must clearly show an email where the user can request the exclusion of their personal email By the way, for those who do not know, this “regulation” does not exist, it is a cunning method created by the spammers themselves to deceive the recipients. For spam generated by telephone companies via SMS, the story becomes more infuriating.

I want to analyze a little the feeling of powerlessness caused by receiving both types of spam and my proposals to control them, which should be applied by INDOTEL, the only government regulatory agency for telecommunications in our country.

Spam via email

In this sense, the situation is disastrous, especially caused by international spam. However, all email services via web (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo-Mail, etc.) such as local email clients (Outlook,, etc.) include anti-spam filter options that we can customize to discover certain types of words contained in the messages, which are then treated as spam and removed.

However, sometimes it becomes impossible to control it, especially that spam that arrives from Russia, China and the United States, the world’s leading spammers. In the Dominican Republic there are many companies dedicated to sending “mass email”, “email marketing”, spam or whatever you want to call it. Some do a serious job respecting the user’s decision about receiving or not receiving messages, others disrespect all the sense of the word and those are the ones that must be regulated.

There are two methods to create a database of users to send bulk email to, the first is by adding a small section on the websites for visitors to apply at their own discretion. In this case it is the visitor who assumes the risk of receiving things that he does not want later, but there is also the case of those who collect email accounts by extracting them from emails forwarded by others through chains.

I have practically “broken” saying that please do not add chain emails to send silly messages, which is basically what these consist of. Those who habituate forwarding these silly things, due to ignorance or whatever reason, forget that every time they apply “forward” or “forward”, the part of the “from” and the “to” are added to the body of the message, fields where we put the sender of the message and the recipients.

Every time we forward, every time we forward again, all email accounts are added to the body of the message, and spammers take advantage of the junk of “useful fools” to swell their database by copying those emails. As there will always be useful fools, I propose the following regulatory alternatives:

  1. Every company that engages in mass email as a service must have a permit that will be renewed annually. The permit will be assigned an ID (such as the ID or RNC) that must be included in the footer of the message to demonstrate that it does serious work. INDOTEL must enable a section on its website where the visitor can verify that the ID included in the message they received was real, otherwise they will have the possibility of reporting the spammer (only if it is a local company).
  2. The sender of the message must include in the same footer of the email a link to a form on a web page or an email, to which the recipient will request the exclusion of their email account. When making the request, it will be irrevocable unless the recipient himself cancels the exclusion. In my view, the preferable should be a form that specifies if the recipient does not want to receive more emails from the current shipment or, failing that, all the shipments from that company. It is important to differentiate it by the problem that I will describe in the next point.
  3. Each message from the mass mailing company must include the same and unique email to “reply to”, because many irresponsible companies give themselves the alternative of using an email account for each mass mailing-client and do not use the email accounts of the company itself. With this “trick” they comply with the regulation of including an email to request to be removed from the database, but only for that shipment and not for the main database. In this way, perhaps I will no longer receive messages from seller X, but I will continue to receive messages from seller Z although what I originally wanted was not to receive mass messages from anyone (neither X, Z, nor Y, etc.) because the spammer still it keeps my email in its main database.
  4. Companies that do not have the regulated permissions to send mass messages, nor have a link to a form on a web page or an email and are insistent on sending mass mailings, will have to pay fines with high values, since that market charges no more than RD $ 10,000.00 for each shipment. I propose fines in excess of RD $ 80,000.00 to guarantee that they learn the lesson.

Spam via SMS

I have a habit of turning off the sound of the cell phone when I enter a meeting and it bothers me that when I leave I find that a text message (SMS) from the telephone company arrived inviting me to participate in the concert of so-and-so. How annoying also to be concentrated in my work to be interrupted by a message from the phone saying that you have such an offer if I buy such a thing. In summary, how annoying it is that having a service by invoice (no control, no card) you receive promotional messages without any kind of control.

Not infrequently, I called my mobile service provider’s customer service requesting not to send those messages. I thought that perhaps I would be the only one on this beautiful island who complained about the subject, until I read this Eliax article that I invite to read. It was a relief to see one of the most renowned bloggers complain about the same problem.

SMS spam is nothing more than a vile copy of the email method. I have received messages with offers from the telephone companies themselves as offers from external companies that clearly hire the telephone companies.

Establish a new law to which telephone companies must be forced to implement by some means (either on their websites or through Customer Service) an alternative to enable or cancel messages, but read: All kinds of messages at choice the client’s.

Simple, no? As a customer who pays a regular invoice, I believe I have the right to demand that messages of this type not be sent to me if I do not want to. Only I, not the telephone ones, have the right to decide in that regard. What makes my annoyance about all this worse is that unlike emails, there are no filters that we can use, so that messages arrive and arrive and arrive. I do not think it necessary to elaborate further on this because my proposal says it all.

In summary

I have always considered an email or a phone number as a kind of virtual house. The spammer, whether by phone or email, gets into your house and through your eyes what you are not interested in. You lack respect, use your mail or number irregularly without having the legal tools to control them.

If they are like my virtual home, they should be regulated like the police anti-theft laws. It is the duty of INDOTEL to do its part in this regard, to create these legal tools, because I understand that as a regulatory body it has the power that, unfortunately, the “ordinary user” lacks.



Junihh is talk about web-dev and opinion.

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