The National Communications Authority (NCA) has issued an order to all telecom operators, value-added service providers, advertisers and content aggregators to STOP all automatic unconsented subscriptions of consumers, or risk being sanctioned.
The regulator has also asked the same entities to immediately stop the transmission of all unsolicited electronic communications (UECs) and other marketing messages to consumers.
This comes on the back of a massive campaign dubbed #StopTheAirtimeLoot by Techgh24 and Squeakgh, which exposed how telcos and or their value-added service partners have been signing consumers on to commercial content without the consent of the subscribers.
The practice, which is a crime under the law, was responsible for widespread complaints of airtime vanishing on people’s phones across the country.
After months of intensive campaign against the practice, NCA took up the matter and promised to institute very concrete measures to sanitize the system.
In an advertorial announcing measures put in place to ensure some sanity in the system, the NCA also directed all telcos to ensure that subscriptions to value-added services are a two-step process, and there must be a retention of proof of consent by the subscriber.
NCA also noted that, together with the Data Protection Commission, it has put measures in place to ensure that electronic communications are sent to only persons who have consented to it.
It however urged all phone users to also to cautious when sharing their contact details with strangers and at public events, particularly where there is no openly publicized disclaimer regarding the data protection.
The regulator also urged consumers to report any unsolicited messages/calls sent to them to either their service provider via 100 or to the NCA at toll-free number 0800110622.
Meanwhile, the NCA is developing a special portal dubbed Do-Not-Text/Call (DNT/C) Portal, where consumers can report any UECs than come on their phone with all the details, so that the respective service provider can be engaged to answer for it.
Find the full Advertorial below:
Meanwhile, Techgh24 would like to propose to the NCA to include an order which compels telcos to ensure that proof of consent can also be retained by the subscriber for future reference.
This means messages seeking subscribers consent for value-added services should come in the form of regular text messages that can be retained on the subscribers phone and not as popup messages that vanish.