Next up in our campaign for open phones and an open Internet is the Public Knowledge-Free Press petition that seeks to ensure that wireless phone companies do not block your text messages. Here are the facts: Verizon wireless blocked its customers from receiving NARAL Pro-Choice America action alert text messages – messages that Verizon customers had asked to receive – because it deemed those messages to be too controversial. While Verizon reversed its decision in the NARAL case, the company still maintains that it can decide who their customers can communicate with. And although Verizon promised Congress that it would develop a new text message policy some five months ago, we have yet to see it.
But text message blocking does not end with the NARAL case. In addition, Verizon, T-Mobile and Alltel continue to block text messages from companies with which they compete. One of these companies, Rebtel, offers text based services to make cheaper long distance and international calls using the 5 and 6 digit numbers used for text messages (known as “short codes”).
Our petition asks the FCC to declare that unjust and unreasonable blocking of text messages and short codes violates the law. The FCC has asked for public comment (pdf) on our petition, and PK in turn is asking you to tell the FCC how you use text messages, why text messages are important to you and why you think wireless phone companies should not have carte blanche to block them. We’ve made it easy for you to send comments with the FCC. Just click here.
Maybe you subscribe to alerts from causes you believe in; maybe you are hearing impaired; maybe you often find yourself in situations where you cannot or do not want to make a phone call and use text messaging to communicate. Whatever the case, make your voice heard now, to prevent wireless phone companies from silencing it later.