READ: Text blasting machines illicitly sold; ‘weaponized’ by pols
The NTC said in the orders 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.
The sale of equipment appeared to violate Republic Act 3846 or The Radio Control Law and various rules and regulations such as memorandum order 01-02-2013 titled the Prohibition of Portable Cellular Mobile Repeater and Portable Cell Site Equipment, the regulator added.
Based on the Radio Control Law, NTC permits and a Congressional franchise were required to operate radio stations.
The companies were thus ordered to “cease and desist from selling the above-mentioned and similar equipment regulated by the Commission.”
Moreover, they were ordered to appear before the Commission on October 27 and 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 e-commerce platforms earlier removed some of the listings on their sites while Facebook did not take any immediate action after being alerted by the Inquirer. ADVERTISEMENT
The small box-like devices, which cost anywhere from about 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 have the ability to fabricate or obscure the origin of texts, making them ideal for political information and disinformation campaigns.
Sellers previously told the Inquirer politicians or political groups were their top buyers and the wares were imported from Malaysia and Germany.
This data comes from MediaIntel.Asia's Media Intelligence and Media Monitoring Platform.
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