display | more...
Coming soon to a voice mail box near you.

Voicecasting is a registered trademark of the Infolink corporation, based in Toronto, Canada, and represents a novel approach to spam: voice mail spam.

Infolink acts as a spamming agent, filling voice mail boxes with unsolicited commercial content by directly calling the voice mail exchange. In this way, the recipient's phone does not ring.

The dozen or so voice mail spams I have received so far (I live in Toronto) all possess a similar, familiar opening spiel. Almost personal, but in a phony and grating way.

Bell Canada is powerless to do anything to stop this practice. As recently as October 4, 2004, the regulatory body for Canadian Radio and Television, the CRTC, decreed that because the practice was not intrusive (the phone doesn't ring), they would not regulate the oncoming onslaught of voice mail spam.

Quoth the CRTC in Decision 2004-65,
The Commission notes that the evidence submitted by Bell Canada regarding complaints to its executive office since January 2004 indicates that (a) the total number of complaints pertaining to voicemail issues, which includes Voicecasting, is low, (b) the number of voicemail complaints relative to all annoyance complaints is low, and (c) the number of complaints is not increasing on a month-to-month basis. Further, the Commission notes that Bell Canada has not undertaken any research to determine the level of inconvenience and nuisance caused by Voicecasting.
All is not lost. The CRTC believes that there have not been many consumer complaints, ergo there is no problem. The only hope to stop this practice in Canada is therefore to complain, directly to the CRTC and to your telephone company. Include as much detail as possible in your complaint.

The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2004.

To lodge a complaint with the CRTC: