On the directives of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has implemented a system that prevents marketing SMS messages from being sent to customers without their consent. Mobile operators and telemarketing companies will start implementing this new system from July 1.

The new system involves the preparation of two types of lists to help mobile users avoid SMS marketing. A list will be compiled for users who want SMS marketing and another will be compiled for those who don’t like promotional SMS.

The PTA announced that mobile carriers and telemarketers would introduce an opt-in and opt-out system on July 1. With an unsubscribe link at the end of each marketing message, a customer will be able to subscribe to the SMS marketing block list. Marketing SMS will only be sent to customers on the opt-in list.

He added that a list containing the letters and numbers of the telemarketers will be prepared. All mobile carriers were asked to submit the list to the PTA by June 21.

The Prime Minister’s adviser on strategic reforms, Salman Sufi, contacted the PTA chairman on June 4 and they discussed the protection of mobile phone user data and messages sent by traders.

Sufi informed the President of the Prime Minister’s instructions for the immediate review of privacy laws regarding citizens and adverse and unwanted messages sent by traders.

PTA officials said work on a policy to block promotional text messages had begun as directed by the prime minister.

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