TRAI to use blockchain against spammy telemarketing calls and SMSes

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to use blockchain technology to restrict the pesky telemarketing calls and messages.

The spammy calls and messages are annoying hundreds of millions of mobile users worldwide. When the telemarketing companies register with telecommunication companies, they get access to contact details of users.

Hence, they send spammy and promotional messages and call the users even when they have not subscribed. It is also a privacy issue as the contact details of the users are supposed to be kept private by the telecom companies.

To address this issue, TRAI will implement blockchain technology to cryptographically secure contact details of all the mobile users in India.

“Blockchain will ensure two things — non-repudiate and confidentiality. Only those authorized to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service… TRAI will become first organization to implement this kind of regulation,” said RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI.

The details of the users will be available to only authorized telemarketing firms, that too under certain terms and conditions. With the new norms issued by TRAI, the communication between the telemarketers and subscribers will be recorded to ensure that no users are receiving calls and SMSes without consent, and from unauthorized firms.

“It is learnt that many telemarketing firms get registered with telecom companies to obtain subscriber details. The new system will give access to only authorised agencies at the time they need to deliver service and details of only those subscribers who have agreed to receive the message,” said SK Gupta, Secretary, TRAI. “The digital record will show entire communication between entries involved.”

Furthermore, the subscribers will be able to withdraw their consent if they no longer want to receive calls and SMSes. TRAI will provide options to the users through its app and other mechanisms to cancel the subscription whenever they want.

“A subscriber may have given consent for a service but that consent is liable to be misused,” added Gupta.

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