Text machines illegally sold online via e-commerce platforms in the country such as Carousell, Facebook Marketplace, Lazada, and Shopee are unregistered.
They can be bought wholesale from sites like Alibaba.com
MANILA — Labeled as “campaign SMS Blaster Machine,” it was meant for politicians willing to use unregistered radio equipment, violating Republic Act No. 3846, or the Radio Control Law, and Republic Act No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The listings ranged from a few weeks to a few years old.
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios specified that only the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other authorized state agencies are exempted to the prohibition of using such devices.
After reviewing their specifications, Cabarios said these devices are illegal and their suppliers are unregistered with the NTC. The regulator is readying show-cause orders to people and entities it will find responsible for the illegal sale of these machines.
“This equipment is not allowed to be purchased, sold, and used,” Cabarios said.
A telco executive, who requested anonymity said these text blasters have been ‘weaponized’ and were used in smaller towns during the 2019 elections.
How did these machines pass under the noses of regulators or not even know about them when they have been in full use since the previous elections? What happens to those already purchased and in use? Can these devices be tracked? (HMP/Headline PH)
Featured image: A multi-port SMS text blaster sold online shows the sim (subscriber identification module) card slot . /Credit: Internet