Tech Q&A: Is there a way to block political text messages?

Theresa is fed up with receiving text messages from Craig Kelly and Clive Palmer and wants to know what she can do to stop them.

Q. Theresa
I know I am not alonein my frustrationwith these constant text messages from Craig Kelly undermining the official health advice, but I want to know if what he is doing is legal? I never signed up to receive these and never gave him or Clive Palmer my number, so why is he allowed to send me text messages? Is there anything I can do to stop receiving these messages? I am already signed up to the Do Not Call register. Isn’t that supposed to stop things like this?

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A. Unfortunately, these text messages are perfectly legal, and they are unlikely to be made illegal any time soon as all political parties will be using political text messaging as a tool as the next federal election draws closer.

The texts are protected under electoral legislation, which permits political parties to campaign in this way.

You don’t need to have given someone your phone number for them to be able to send you these texts either, as they can be sent to phone numbers at random, which is believed to be the modus operandi of the United Australia Party texts everyone is so upset about.

Read: Are scammers using your phone number for fake calls?

These texts are also not considered to be spam under the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) guidelines.

The Spam Act does say that in most instances an organisation must have your express or implied consent before they can send you marketing messages and there must also be a way to stop the messages if you don’t want to receive them, but political parties are exempt from these rules.

Other organisations that can send you these types of messages without your consent are charities, education institutions and government bodies.

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What can you do about it?
You may not be able to opt out of receiving these messages, but you can do your best to block as many as possible.

If you have an iPhone and have received one of these messages, tap the name or number at the top of the conversation, then tap ‘i’ at the top right, then tap ‘info’, scroll down and tap ‘Block this Caller’. This should stop you receiving messages from the same number in future.

There is also an iPhone function that allows you to filter your messages so that numbers that are not in your contacts are sent to a separate list, which can also be a good way to deal with these types of text messages.

If you have an Android device, when you are in messages simply touch and hold each conversation that you would like to block and then tap the ‘block’ option.

Unfortunately, these messages can come from a variety of different numbers so the above method will not guarantee that you will not receive more messages in future?

How many messages have your received from Craig Kelly and the United Australia Party? Do you think the law should be changed to ban these unwanted messages? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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