The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, March 24, 2003

When authorities in China say "Post No Bills", they really mean it. In response to rampant illegal flyer advertising, police in Hangzhou, China have devised an automated dialing program that bombards the perpetrators' mobile phone with constant calls until they answer, at which point they're instructed to turn themselves in.

Devilishly clever. There are ways around it, of course: call blocking, redirection, etc. The advertisers are limited in guarding against it in some ways; in order to get their business, they can't resort to posting a fake phone number, for instance.

The most immediate use I can see for this program in the U.S. is for bill collectors trying to get through to their deadbeats. It probably comes awful close to harrassment, though. And it's probably not the best idea to start copying tactics used by a profoundly undemocratic government.