Ban on Bulk Messages – a case of killing the messenger?

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Killing the proverbial messenger has never done anything good for anyone. And especially in this case, it could even cause uncertainty and unrest. Case in point: the deplorable violence and the subsequent rumors of more unrest spreading through social networking sites and SMS. But what we, as a country, need to do is sit down and analyse how we can prevent such attempts to attack the solidarity of India. In shooting the messenger, and by that I mean by banning SMSes on the whole, we are just cutting channels of communication and dialogue. Especially when a simpler and more powerful solution to this issue is at hand.

SMS Ban India

The Emotional Angle:

As well-meaning it may have intended to be, the lockdown on communication over SMS will not instill trust in the citizens. Instead of reacting in panic, the government can really harness SMS itself to quash all rumours and reinstate the people's trust in the government. In such delicate situtations, it's the lack of reliable information that gives rise to rumours and doubt. The government itself can send out SMS campaigns enlightening citizens against rumors of violence and attacks, warning and curfew messages and more, thereby countering any feeble SMS rumours effectively.

Business Angle:

The VAS industry is a growing sector despite being weighed down by statutory guidelines. Instead of a hasty ban on all bulk SMS without understanding there is a very simple and foolproof solution could lead to harming a thriving sector that has been generating revenues for the government diligently.

Administrative Angle:

The Enterprise SMS system in workplaces today is the lifeline of operations ranging from safe banking, government rural outreach, night-transport safety solutions for employees. Pick up any statistical report since the last 5 years and you'll see how the mobile phone has become the single mode of dependable personal communication across the country with never-before-seen rural penetration. So, instead of leaving citizens in the dark, risking them to fall for hearsay, the government can proactively take this up as an opportunity to communicate with the public on a one-to-one level.

The Solution:

Well, an SMS Filtering Solution - yes it's as simple as that and it's completely foolproof. As I speak of it, we are already working on a system that will henceforth completely filter and block any message that has malicious content such as communally sensitive information, derogatory ideas or dubious rumours and monitor and report anti--social users. When deployed, this system will simply cut off the problem at the root instead of burdening the poor citizen with an SMS limit. We as a company have already done that with filters for Lottery scams and foul language and we can create a system for this one too.

This is a Guest post

by Sanjay Aggarwal

CEO, Unicel Technologies

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