Haiti case study - IFRC

thomwithoutanh's bookmarks 2016-08-12


SPAM and Fraud Many aid agencies responded to Haiti’s need for help. Most of these also recognised the power of SMS messaging to reach the population. This resulted in a deluge of requests for help from the mobile operators for free SMS broadcast. The mobile operators were quick to help but a number of problems resulted. One of these was that many agencies sent out very similar messages. For example, during the cholera outbreak, multiple messages were sent advising people to ’wash their hands‘. This caused a ’spam effect‘, reducing the attention that recipients paid to these messages generally. Some requests for help had actually come from fraudsters representing themselves as aid agencies. The mobile operators, not knowing any different, had granted them SMS broadcasts. Some of these broadcasts were then used for advertising goods for sale. In the worst cases, messages telling disaster affected people that they had to pay money to receive Red Cross aid were sent out. Network Issues The sending of multiple SMS broadcasts also caused network issues. Many of the mobile phones targeted were not available as they had either been lost or were without power. The networks were therefore hit with large numbers of SMS messages which could not be delivered. This resulted in network congestion and loss of service. Targeting Broadcasting to the entire population is a very clumsy method to use. If, for example, you are running a vaccination programme, you do not want to have the whole population turning up at once. You may also want to send messages about services in a specific area; another challenge for SMS broadcast. Commercial Network Issues The mobile network operators themselves have concerns about the effect that the help that they provide might have on their business. Key issues include: Loss of revenue due to network capacity use  Effect on relations with the rest of their customer base  Commercial secrets including information on their customers and network infrastructure.



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sms challenges

Date tagged:

08/12/2016, 05:46

Date published:

08/12/2016, 01:46