November 5, 2014 / 3:58 PM / in 3 years

China proposes tougher rules on text message spam

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone at Pudong financial district in Shanghai July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has proposed stricter regulations on sending spam to mobile phones, including fines of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,907) for violations, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.

The ministry is seeking comment on the proposed rules, which according to a draft posted on its website on Monday would require explicit consent from users before companies or individuals could send business-related text messages. The new rules also say the texts should be delivered free of charge.

Spam is ubiquitous across all telecommunication platforms in China, including fax, telemarketing phone calls and texts offering everything from investment and loan advice to massages and real estate deals.

In 2010, Chinese mobile service providers in Shanghai and Beijing banned certain “illegal or unhealthy” key words in text messages, according to state media.

China has 1.273 billion cellphone users, according to the ministry.

Reporting By Adam Rose; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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