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Malaysia blocks over 12k mobile phone nu...

Malaysia blocks over 12k mobile phone numbers to combat gambling promos

Published on November 09, 2016

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) received 1,161 complaints from the public on gambling promotions related activities from 2015 until September this year.

MCMC Minister Salleh Said Keruak said that following these complaints the commission took steps to gather information and to share the details with the police for further investigations. As a result, a total of 12,449 mobile phone numbers that were used to promote illegal gambling operations via SMS were cancelled.

Regarding the collaboration with Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Salleh Said Keruak said that “cooperation between MCMC and PDRM was already established to curb online gambling, including aspects of joint monitoring, detection, information sharing, digital forensics, termination of phone numbers and blocking of online gambling websites“.

The commission was operating under Section 263(2) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which instructs service providers to terminate phone numbers involved in distributing gambling related SMSes.

According to the minister, the SMSes with gambling promotions did not target specific users. Based on analysis carried out by MCMC, they were sent out as spam messages to random phone numbers, without knowing the identity of the receivers or whether those phone numbers were active at all.

“MCMC also cooperates with telecommunication service providers in tracking down the spread of such SMSes to protect the privacy of users. Service providers have also provided a screening system to block the transmission of SMSes promoting online gambling activities,” Salleh commented on the event.

MCMC claimed last year that the growth of SMS gambling promos shows success in government’s attempt to combat illegal gambling websites. In April Malaysia’s deputy prime minister announced a plan to allow harsher sanctions for illegal gambling, having an emphasis on online gambling operators.