NTC to e-stores: Stop selling text blasters
MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered US tech giant Facebook and e-commerce companies Lazada and Shopee to immediately stop selling text blast machines. The NTC on Tuesday issued show-cause orders against Facebook (Marketplace) Philippines, Lazada E-Services Philippines Inc., and Shopee Philippines.
The orders, dated Oct. 11, came in the wake of an Inquirer report on Sunday detailing the illegal sale of radio equipment, such as text blast machines via popular online shopping sites. The report followed the text blast used to express support for the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand Marcos moments after he filed his certificate of candidacy for president on Oct. 6.
The commission maintained that it has not authorized the importation, manufacture, sale, and distribution of devices, such as Hitech SMS blaster, SMS location blasting system, and other similar products found on their platforms.
Their sale can be considered a violation of The Radio Control Law and other regulations, such as NTC Memorandum Order No. 01-02-2013 (Prohibition of Portable Cellular Mobile Repeater and Portable Cell Site Equipment), the regulator added. The e-commerce companies were ordered to “cease and desist from selling the above-mentioned and similar equipment regulated by the Commission,” and were ordered to appear before the NTC on Oct. 27.
They must also explain in writing why they should not be “held liable for such violations as well as subject the violative products/equipment to confiscation and forfeiture.”
The companies earlier removed some of the listings on their sites, while Facebook did not take any immediate action after being alerted by the Inquirer.
The small box-like devices, which cost anywhere from P200,000 to P3 million, can blast up to 100,000 text messages per hour in a target location free of telco charges.
They are also virtually invisible on cellular networks and can fabricate or obscure the origin of text messages.
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