33 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Telecom Digest for May 31, 2015
Volume 34 : Issue 98 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: feds indict six in "text msg scam" (Gordon Burditt)
One-Tap Giving? Extra Steps Mire Mobile Donations (Monty Solomon)

I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.
Ronald Reagan

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Date: Sat, 30 May 2015 00:30:28 -0500 From: gordonb.kf0r8@burditt.org (Gordon Burditt) To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: feds indict six in "text msg scam" Message-ID: <7JKdnRe4cIVp1_TInZ2dnUU7-fWdnZ2d@posted.internetamerica> >> >>http://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/six-defendants-charged-manhattan-federal-court-multimillion-dollar-text-messaging >> >> >>- curiously (or not) nothing in the press release about the billing >> practices of the cellular companies themselves or whether they >> helped, or hindered... > > I believe that the regulation of premium SMS is up to the FCC, and is > not at this point a criminal issue. I believe that if anyone bills someone for <something> without their knowledge or consent, and there's a huge pattern indicating that it is NOT a simple mistake, and especially if they denied that it was a mistake, then they are guilty of fraud, regardless of who regulates whatever that <something> is. It doesn't matter whether the messages are delivered by postal mail (the US Postal Service regulates that), by burning dog poop left at a front door (I guess that's regulated by the Department of Agriculture and/or the local fire department) by smoke signals (I guess the EPA would regulate that), text messaging (the FCC would regulate that) or mental telepathy (I don't think anyone regulates that. Yet, anyway.) That still doesn't allow someone to surprise-bill me for premium messages sent by telepathy. Just because something uses new-fangled technology doesn't mean that technology-independent laws don't apply. For example, the FCC need not get involved if someone goes around murdering people by cramming phone bills down their throat until they choke on them, beating them over the head with a pay phone, or strangling them with a phone cord. You'd need to make an exception for billing for legally mandated taxes by those mandated to bill for them. Those doing the billing here are not the phone companies, and what's billed isn't a mandated tax. It would be hard to nail the phone companies for being complicit in this type of fraud. If the law mandates that phone companies act as billing agents for the fraudsters, then those who passed that law belong in jail. > Personally, I think you'd have to be criminally stupid to design a > system that included the equivalent of collect 900 number calls, but > what do I know? I think you'd have to be criminally stupid to design a payment system that involves broadcasting information needed to conduct a financial transaction against someone else's account over radio waves in range of other customers and whatever bad guys are standing around. Even if it is encrypted, the encrypted data seems to be enough to conduct a transaction, even if it's conducted with the WRONG card with a RFID chip. (Yes, I've seen that happen with Mobil Speedpass. Two people paid the other's bill. It involved some unwise handing of a fob over one cashier conducting another transaction to another cashier. It was only when one of them checked his receipt that it was noticed he was billed for way more gasoline than his car could hold, but that 18-wheeler could.) I'm afraid that screwups like this might be even easier with some of the newer systems like ApplePay, especially given that it's so easy to crash phones with a text message. Can text messages that send back a payment be far behind? I shouldn't single out ApplePay; other systems are vulnerable also. ***** Moderator's Note ***** I've received word from my leader that I am now in charge of regulating communications via ESP. I've decided to tax it at the rate of one simolean per finished thought. Send the money to me the old-fashioned way. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 30 May 2015 11:30:56 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: One-Tap Giving? Extra Steps Mire Mobile Donations Message-ID: <CDFE9250-5F6A-40F8-B1EF-8B9BDA7A8562@roscom.com> One-Tap Giving? Extra Steps Mire Mobile Donations Mobile apps can be used to summon a car or order food with a simple tap, but making a charitable donation is not as easy. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/your-money/one-tap-giving-extra-steps-mire-mobile-donations.html -or- http://goo.gl/Aczuom ***** Moderator's Note ***** This is as it should be. Mendicants of all sizes and persuasions have become highly proficient at tugging on our heartstrings, sometimes with regrettable results. The enemy of efficiency is time, and in this case, the less time donors spend investigating the actual expenditures, disbursements, and real goals of those whom have their hand out, the more incentive there is for hucksters, frauds, shaman, and thieves to set up shop as the next "feel-good-cause-you-never- need-to-worry-about". Expressing a "preference" for where your feel-good paycheck deduction goes isn't anywhere near as revealing as is you taking time for investigating the salaries of the oh-so-sincere plaintive voices whom demand that you do the "right thing". Even casual fact checking is likely to make you (A) retch and (B) look elsewhere. Trust me: charities that deserve your money are easy to find. It's the ones that are looking for you that you need to be suspicious of. Bill Horne Moderator

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