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National Privacy Commission now looking into recent uptick of spam SMS

By Bim Santos Published Nov 18, 2021 6:37 pm Updated Nov 18, 2021 8:44 pm

Have you been receiving tons of spam text messages recently that offer job opportunities if you just click on a certain link?

A number of consumers are now complaining online about receiving a number of spam SMS in the past few days. Often, these messages send out dubious job offers that could be accessed by clicking on a link, which in some messages is usually a WhatsApp link.

Some users online have been suspecting that their numbers were leaked from contact tracing forms and apps.

The National Privacy Commission, answering a question from PhilSTAR L!fe, said they are already looking into the issue and stated that there is no case to be made yet to link the spam SMS messages to contact tracing forms.

“We are looking at these reports but no sufficient information, at this time, to attribute or link the growing concerns on unsolicited SMS to scraping or breach of contact tracing forms/apps,” Roren Chin, chief of NPC’s public information and assistance division said.

“We are also conducting privacy sweeps to check the compliance to DPA requirements,” added Chin.

Such “privacy sweeps,” Chin said, examines the compliance of certain websites and applications, among others, to the country’s Data Privacy Law.

Spam is covered under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Listed as a cybercrime offense under Section 4 of the law are “unsolicited commercial communications,” which is defined as the “transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited.”

The National Telecommunications Commission has yet to respond to a query regarding this story. The country’s telcos have also yet to respond.