Ofta has issued guidelines on junk faxes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 12:00am

I refer to John Yuan's letter ('Ofta neglects duty in favour of junk faxers') published on May 11 about unsolicited fax advertisements.


The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) appreciates the frustration of fax-line users who receive a large amount of unsolicited fax advertisements, or junk faxes.


There is no law in Hong Kong prohibiting the sending of junk faxes. However, in 1999 Ofta issued the Code of Practice on the Procedure for Handling Complaints against Senders of Unsolicited Fax Advertisements and Guidelines for Senders of Fax Advertisements to telephone service operators and fax senders to follow on a voluntary basis. Since then, operators have been providing a 'not-to-call' list for fax-line users to register their numbers if they no longer wish to receive junk faxes. The list has been maintained by Ofta and is available on our website (www.ofta.gov.hk) for all senders of fax ads to observe.


Ofta has also developed some application programmes to help fax senders update and maintain their circulation lists in an efficient manner. In January, Ofta revised the code to allow telephone service operators to issue a warning letter to a junk fax sender if one complaint is established, to suspend all telephone lines of the sender for 14 days if there are two complaints and to disconnect all the lines if there are three complaints.


This arrangement is to give a junk fax sender a chance to stop his action automatically without further action by the telephone service operator and is a heavier sanction than that in the earlier code issued in 1999. The sending of fax advertisements is a common form of unsolicited electronic messages. Ofta intends to issue a public consultation paper in the near future on the matter of unsolicited electronic messages to explore a range of possible measures to combat the problem, including the need for enactment of legislation or the strengthening of the existing codes of practice and guidelines.


I hope this will clarify any misunderstanding of what Ofta has been doing about junk faxes.


K.S. WONG


For the director-general of Telecommunications


public should be warned about unreliablity of 3g


I wish to express my concern over the development of 3G networks in Hong Kong.


The government and the telecommunications authority have failed to monitor the deployment of this new technology by some operators, such as Hutchison Global Communications, in Hong Kong.


I am excited by the introduction of 3G networks in Hong Kong. Besides video calls, news services are now available on cellular phones. People may now gain access to media content such as news, weather and soccer match results through their cellular phones.


Some of my friends subscribed to Hutchison's 3G network once it became available. Despite all the strong advertising campaigns creating the image of next-generation communication methods, the 3G network provided by Hutchison is a failure.


Phone services are unreliable and network coverage is poor. And no caution statement has been given by the operator or the government on the quality of the new phone services.


I understand that big technologies such as 3G take time to mature. However, operators such as Hutchison should give proper statements to customers on the reliability of their services, just like software companies do when they release beta software.


The government and the telecoms authority should look into the matter immediately, otherwise consumers' interests will be unprotected.


VENUS LEE KA-PO


Ma On Shan