Nigeria suspends mobile phone spam blocker for 2019 General Elections

Nigeria suspends mobile phone spam blocker for 2019 General Elections

Nigeria suspends mobile phone spam blocker for 2019 General Elections

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The Federal Government has suspended the Do-Not-Disturb 2442 short code that blocks unsolicited message to mobile phone users to allow operators deliver Nigeria’s 2019 General Elections information.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced the temporary suspension today, in a statement made available to Technology Times, to allow mobile network operators (MNOs) send voter education messages on behalf of the election umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

As at last year, over 12 million mobile phone users have signed up for the “Do-Not-Disturb” (DND) 2442 short code that stop them from receiving unsolicited messages from telecoms operators in Nigeria, the industry regulator recently said.


As at last year, over 12 million mobile phone users have signed up for the “Do-Not-Disturb” (DND) 2442 short code that stop them from receiving unsolicited messages from telecoms operators in Nigeria, the industry regulator recently said. NCC

Nigeria suspends mobile phone spam blocker for 2019 General Elections
Technology Times photo shows two women looking at a mobile phone at the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF 2016)

The telecoms regulator says that despite the suspension of its DND direction, “MNOs are to be mindful of existing directives regarding the timing and regularity of such messages and the fact that the temporary suspension is only with regards to the specific messages on voters’ education.”

NCC says it temporarily lifted the order that MNOs should activate the DND anti-spam service so they can “disseminate specific information on voter education on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

The NCC reprieve comes in the wake of its directive to MNOs and Value Added Service Providers that:

– MNOs should ensure that their facilities are not used to disseminate political or religious contents which are abusive, insulting, intimidating and harassing, and/or which incite violence, hatred or discrimination against any person or group of persons;

–   MNOs shall provide service to participants in the political process, only to the extent that their licence and the regulatory process permits;

–     MNOs shall maintain the principle of neutrality in all their dealings regarding all the political process;

–      MNOs shall at all times seek and obtain the approval of the Commission at all times.


MNOs should ensure that their facilities are not used to disseminate political or religious contents which are abusive, insulting, intimidating and harassing, and/or which incite violence, hatred or discrimination against any person or group of persons. NCC

Nigeria suspends mobile phone spam blocker for 2019 General Elections
Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta speaking to Media Executives at the breakfast meeting in Lagos

The NCC also says it is ready to “strictly monitor the activities of the MNOs for the duration of the temporary suspension.”

The agency said recently that it has resolved 92,757 telecoms service and related complaints reported by aggrieved consumers across Nigeria.

Under its consumer protection plan, NCC created the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code in 2016 to allow telecoms consumers to safeguard against unsolicited text messages received as VAS (value added service), nuisance and Internet-generated/distributed spam text messages that are fraudulently used to deduct consumer’s airtime credit, the agency says.

“The DND code can be activated fully by sending “STOP” as a text message to 2442, thereby blocking all unsolicited text messages. It can also be activated partially by sending “HELP” as a text message to 2442 to choose from a list of categories of unsolicited messages which the consumer still wants to be receiving,” according to the telecoms regulator.

“Between January 2017 and December 2018, the Commission received a total of 118,784 complaints from consumers, of which 92,757, representing 78 per cent of total complaints received during the two years period were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of telecom consumers”, according to NCC.

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