There They Go Again
At first it was political junk mail. Here in Northeast Ohio, Nickie Antonio, William McGinty, and Ashley (“I was rated 3.5/5 for judge”) Kilbane led the brat pack of junk mailers in this past May’s primary.) Antonio and McGinty tied for first with nine mailings each, followed by Kilbane’s five, some of them joint mailings.
Then it was the robocalls, treating us to recordings of Aaaahnold Schwarzenager, the Donald, etc. Thankfully, consumer outrage prevented politicians from allowing themselves to robocall our cell phones. But repeatedly robocalling our phones wasn’t good enough for the fair weather friends who otherwise wouldn’t give us the time of day.
Now they’re using Peer to Peer (P2P) applications to send text spam to our cell phones. Even worse, they’re buying or renting our unlisted cell phone numbers so they can ram their unwanted political pitches down our throats.
While the #fakefriends rev up their P2P apps for another season of ramming it to the rest of us, it’s important to note that the Federal Communications Commission has not decided that P2P messaging is an exception to the Telephone Communications Privacy Act, which prohibits unsolicited text messages to cell phones unless the subscriber has given permission. The F.C.C. has delayed that determination until after the public (that’s you and me) has had the chance to comment.
Who’s the leadoff for the Fall 2018 text spamming season? Steve Dettelbach, former U.S. Attorney who now wants to be Ohio Attorney General. Yup, not even August, and Steve’s boys are already at it. What - This guy’s a lawyer who used to go after people who violated federal laws, yet he might be breaking a federal law? Doesn’t appear to bother Dettelbach, who as of this writing in August had not acknowledged - much less responded to - a certified letter to his law office at Baker and Hostetler asking who provided my unlisted cell number to his campaign.
What can we do? Fight back. Until the F.C.C. says P2P messaging is exempt from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, report text spammers at www.fcc.gov. You can also call your cellular carrier and ask them to terminate the phone service of the number spamming you. Finally, since a member of the bar appears to be breaking federal law, the Ohio Supreme Court should look into Dettelbach’s behavior.
It’s time we teach politicians like Steve Dettelbach and his fellow privacy invading vote-grubbers that we’re not at their beck and call. They work for us, not the other way around. And it’s high time they started following the laws they insist apply to the rest of us. Don’t like being bothered on your unlisted cell phone? Remember what Brother Bluto taught us? “Don’t get mad - get even.” Not very brotherhood of man, you say? Neither is having your private unlisted cell number traded and sold without your permission. If we don’t stop this now, we lose our last chance for peace and quiet from fair weather, fake friends. It’s time we stop taking politicians’ information abuse.
Bob Soltis is a former Navy officer and a retired federal administrative law judge.
Bob Soltys is a photographer and former Navy officer.