Belgium to Introduce Automated Blocking of SMS Messages

A new telecoms law will allow Belgian operators to use algorithms to identify and block suspicious SMS messages from next year. The law is the baby of Petra De Sutter (pictured), who holds the telecoms brief as well as being the Deputy Prime Minister. De Sutter explained how the law will reduce phishing in a press release (translated from Dutch):

In the past, telecom operators had to type word for word, so to speak, in order to track down suspicious messages in order to slow down phishing. The new telecom law will allow telecom operators to do this automatically from next year. Suspicious text messages that internet criminals send en masse will then appear on the radar of telecom operators much faster and will therefore not end up on your mobile.

Belgians have been told the new filters will work much like those used for emails. I hope this proves to be fundamentally untrue given how often email filters fail to identify unwanted and fraudulent messages, and how often they block perfectly legitimate emails. My expectation is that politicians like De Sutter will bank the goodwill created by an overall reduction in nuisance messages received by phone users next year, and if those filters do not operate as well as promised then some future politician will capitalize by blaming every failure on the telcos who implemented the filters.

The change is included in an extensive package of reforms which also involves the standardization of how billing information is presented to customers, a requirement to offer customers the cheapest tariff for them on an annual basis, and a simplification of the process for switching between telcos.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.