Cellphone Spam Illegal, Says Court

    September 22, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A 1991 law banning the practice of autodialing cellphone numbers also applies to junk text messages.

Arizona’s Court of Appeals has ruled that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 applies in the case of Joffe v. Acacia Mortgage. Acacia’s practice of sending text messages to cellphones violated that act, the court wrote in its opinion.

Even though Acacia sent emails to deliver SMS messages, those messages still constituted a call:

The TCPA does not limit the attempt to communicate by telephone to two-way real time voice “intercommunication,” as Acacia argues. As relevant here, the TCPA states it “shall be unlawful for any person . . . to make any call . . . using an automatic telephone dialing system . . . to any telephone number assigned to a . . . cellular telephone service . . . .”

Acacia’s argument that TCPA infringes on the First Amendment found no traction with the appellate judges either, as the Tucson Citizen reports. The court’s opinion states the TCPA is so narrowly drawn, it does not infringe on content.

The plaintiff in the case, Rodney Joffe, has sought class action status in the case on behalf of 90,000 cellphone users affected by Acacia’s practices. A decision on that should arrive soon; in the meantime, the Citizen reports Acacia will appeal the ruling.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.