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ELECTION COUNTDOWN

HRC Calls For Federal Investigation Into Anti-Obama Text Messages

After cellphone users reported a series of unsolicited anti-Obama text messages Tuesday night, some of which derided the President’s record on LGBT issues, the Human Rights Campaign is calling for a federal investigation of the conservative telecommunications company behind them.

Some recipients of the anonymous texts tweeted screenshots with messages like: “Re-electing Obama puts Medicare at risk”; “Obama is using your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood and abortions. Is that right?”; and “Stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states. Your vote is your voice.”

According to Buzzfeed‘s Chris Geidner, the company in question, ccAdvertising, has not admitted to sending the texts, although the dummy websites used to send the messages were registered to ccAdvertising executives. One exec in particular, Gabe Joseph, is reportedly known for using questionable tactics.

Sending unsolicited emails in the form of SMS text messages via web domains – rather than phone numbers – circumvents Federal Communications Commission regulations. However, the HRC is charging that ccAdvertising defrauded cellphone users, as stated in the letter from HRC general counsel Robert Falk:

[T]he [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] prohibits any person within the United States to use a telecommunications service “to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading caller-identification information with the intent to defraud [or] cause harm.” 47 U.S.C. § 227(e)(1). By disguising the sender of the text messages as “SMS@Aicett.Com,” ccAdvertising knowingly and willfully caused the caller-identification service to transmit misleading caller-identification information in an attempt to defraud and harm gay-rights advocates.

“It’s unsurprising that our opponents are employing such underhanded tactics and trying to attack equality from behind shrouds of secrecy,” HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz said in a statement. “HRC is filing a complaint with the FCC so that these types of organizations know there are consequences for their actions. It’s unacceptable to launch these types of despicable attacks from dark corners, and it’s incredibly irresponsible to send out unsolicited messages to people who have no desire to receive this type of vitriol.”

Photo: Buzzfeed

By:           Les Fabian Brathwaite
On:           Nov 1, 2012
Tagged: , , ,
  • 6 Comments
    • bystander
      bystander

      “with the intent to defraud [or] cause harm.” This counts as neither.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo
      2eo

      Absoulte violation of the law, and ethically pathetic. It is sad what they are reduced too.

      Between Romney buying supplies for his “allies” to gift to the Sandy relief effort, to them making up lies about rape and how women deserve it. To deriding FEMA for responding to poor people quickly for a change.

      There is nothing they can do, and I hope the tide of public opinion is with the intellectuals and moral people for a second election in a row, the world cannot afford another violent religious nutcase.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 11:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel J
      Joel J

      If they tell any lie to get elected, imagine what they will do once in power. These Republicans have no ethical leg to stand on.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 11:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @bystander:

      Actually that isn’t correct. The text I got repeated a debunked claim. Fraud. Anybody who does not have an unlimited texting plan got charged for those texts and therefore were harmed financially.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bystander
      bystander

      @Cam: That doesn’t count, the “harm” isn’t connected to the truthfulness of the claims. Also its not a true harm because anyone can send you text messages and charge you, that’s something you know when you sign up for the plan. By your logic anytime anyone calls someone who doesn’t have an unlimited plan and says something not true they’d be committing fraud.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @bystander:

      Sorry, you’re right about the harm part. Didn’t read that as closely as I should have. However, they can still go after them for sending out unsolicited texts that people can get charged for.

      They will claim they did it from an e-mail blast, but since they would obviously be aware that the phone company would turn it into texts they can’t weasel out that way.

      Nov 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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