Spamming ISPs need to be taken to task

Spam has become a regular feature of telecommunications in Kuwait. Spam from external sources has often been regarded as inherent with the mobile experience, the same cannot be said of spam from telecommunication service providers.

Over the years, spam from service providers has increased, both in numbers and in its immediacy. From the early requests to simply download the latest ‘diggly tunes’ for a small fee to the audacious click baits and demands that we subscribe to products for a hefty monthly fee, the misuse of Exchange Activesync to push advertisements by the ISPs have grown to the extent that they now provide a steady stream of revenue to the service providers.

Exchange Activesyn is a communications protocol designed for the synchronization of email, contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes from a messaging server to a smartphone or other mobile devices. By misusing this protocol, ISPs can easily access our personal data and leverage it to send us unsolicited spam mails.

While we can take steps to prevent external spam, there is very little we can do about internal spam. We are forced to tolerate the former, do we also have to endure the latter? If you believe the ISPs have gone far enough with their abuse of our privacy and their responsibility as a telecommunications operator, then the least you can do is make your voice heard to the authorities.

After dragging their feet for ages on setting up a telecommunications regulatory authority in Kuwait, the authorities finally conceded on this consumer need and established the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) in 2014. The authority is responsible for overseeing the telecommunications sector, by monitoring and protecting the interests of users and service providers and regulating the services of telecommunication networks in the country.

Since being mandated to supervise the Information Communication and Technology sector in Kuwait, CITRA has been doing a commendable job, from transparency in assigning frequency spectrum, to blocking sites deemed offensive and unblocking sites wrongly targeted. The authority was also responsible for enforcing number portability feature on the rather reluctant telecommunication companies.

The one great thing about CITRA is that, unlike many other government entities, the authority listens and takes action on relevant complaints that it receives. They have a long list of consumer rights on their website, so if you feel your rights are being abused by your telecommunication company or have other genuine complaints against the service provider, visit the CITRA website at https://citra.gov.kw and file a complaint.