Unsolicited Political Campaigns
“The Marriage Equality Survey forms have arrived! Help make history and vote YES for a fairer Australia. VoteYes.org.au”
As you can see from the image to the left, one disgruntled recipient made their feelings felt, but to no avail.
Was this an Invasion of Privacy?
Registered Charities, Registered Political Parties and Educational Institutions are exempt from the Act.
See an excerpt from the Act below:
“Registered charities, registered political parties and educational institutions are exempt from the Act. If an organisation falls into one of these categories, then any commercial electronic messages it sends are exempt from the Act’s consent and unsubscribe conditions if, and only if, the messages relate to goods or services supplied by the organisation that authorised the message. Note that such messages must still comply with the identified condition of the Act.”
How Did They Get My Number?
The official line from campaign organisers was that the numbers were randomly generated and no database had been sought.
Random Number Generator?
As an industry expert and leader in the SMS gateway technology industry, we have never heard of such a campaign being done in the past.
It would have been an incredibly expensive exercise.
Does it Pass the Pub Test?
Just because an organisation of any description has a legal exception doesn’t mean they have a right to invade someone’s privacy. Especially if you cannot provide a mechanism to respond or opt-out.
If a campaign organiser cannot handle complaints and responses, then it is akin to recipients feeling the same way. Do unto others…
A mobile phone is carried by most Australians, most of the time. The SMS inbox is one of the most personal and private communications environments we have.
Sending a political message into this protected environment is always going to be a risky proposition.
With no SMS reply mechanism for recipients, website click through numbers would be muddied by those wishing to respond in the negative (because of lack of response mechanism) and those in full support.
The Intelli Messaging Position
There is a great risk of negative reaction in the market. I do not know of any commercial enterprise that would be willing to take such a risk.
To witness such a campaign runs deep against our code of practice.
Our policy on running campaigns is that clients must have:
- recipient consent,
- an opt-out process and
- a call back option.
the latter two usually done with our voice and SMS activated numbers.
Responding to calls and texts to such a large audience would also be impracticable.
Furthermore, providing an ability to opt-out or unsubscribe to text messages is a decent thing to do.
Most of the time, they are concerned with Brand Damage and Reputational Harm.
Corporate marketing departments are generally very inflexible with ANYTHING that might potentially hurt their brand or image.
That is why we are trusted by some of the big name retailers.
Time will tell if we see political parties embrace this risk in the future.