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Federation Council Pushes Anti-Spam Legislation for Cell Phones

With no legislation against mobile phone advertising spam sent via SMS in Russia, it has reached epidemic proportions. Andrei Makhonin

Ruslan Gattarov, head of the Federation Council's information policy committee, on Tuesday submitted a draft bill to the State Duma aiming to combat the mobile phone advertising spam sent via SMS which is plaguing Russian cell phone users.

"SMS spam has acquired the character of an epidemic in Russia. According to antivirus companies, up to 76 percent of Russians receive spam in text messages and the vast majority regard them negatively," Gattarov told RIA Novosti.

About 2.5 billion computer-generated text messages, the majority of them containing advertising, were received by just one of Russia's major service providers in October of this year, Gattarov said, citing data from mobile operator MTS.

The bill contains three measures for fighting the spam, Gattarov said.

First, it will allow cell phone operators to decline from delivering such messages; second, it will permit the delivery of only those bulk messages that the cell phone user has previously agreed to receive; and finally, it will create a feedback mechanism allowing consumers to order messages from a specific number blocked by their service provider.

The information policy commission first reviewed the bill at a November session and then further developed it with the cooperation of experts and mobile operators.

The bill was modeled after regulations adopted by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and similar legislation in other countries, Gattarov told Interfax in November.

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