SMS spam is a big problem. Maybe not in Western regions, yet, but in countries like China, India and Vietnam, it’s such a large problem that governments are having to step in to control it.
To help out, IBM was tapped to create an anti-SMS-spam solution to help curb the massive problem in China, and was working in collaboration with China Mobile to implement the system on its network. In doing so, IBM has opened itself up to criticism from those who feel the company is getting involved in censorship.
China Mobile, earlier this year, announced that it had started to scan every SMS sent over its network for content the government didn’t approve of. If the government said so, a sender would be blocked from using China Mobile all together, pending a written letter promising not to ever do it again.
In its defense, IBM claims all its solution will do is identify and block large sources of SPAM SMS- not scan every single message to see if it’s in accordance with the Chinese Government’s guidelines. It’s also relevant to note that China Mobile has some 750 million subscribers, sending an incredible amount of SMS messages at any given time. With that much data traffic flowing through its network, controlling SPAM messages is important to controlling network bandwidth issues.
Controlling SMS spam is a growing problem that’s already making itself known worldwide, and solutions like IBM’s is only a start to help the cause. In my mind, solutions like this aren’t censorship by any means, they’re only tools to help make the mobile ecosystem a better place for everyone.