The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday proposed the use of blockchain technology for safeguarding personal information of the consumers as well as for better check on unsolicited commercial calls. It also mooted stricter regulation for telemarketers for seeking consent from the customers for commercial calls and messages. It released the draft Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018, to check the menace of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC), or spam calls and messages. Though Trai has proposed the usage of blockchain technology, analysts FE spoke to pointed out that it will be difficult for the Authority to find experts in this field. Getting experts from the industry may prove difficult because it may cost a lot.
Trai chairman RS Sharma said, “This is a serious issue and we are making regulations more strict. What we are trying to do is ensure that all entities in the telemarketing chain are registered so as to fix compliance. Then we are planning to use the blockchain technology to make the process more effective.” On use of blockchain, he said it will ensure confidentiality of data and the information will be made available only on a need-to-know basis. Besides, blockchain, or Distributed Ledger Technology, will ensure that no party in this process will be able to deny their actions as all that will be registered in the ledger.
“We (Trai) are probably be the first organisation in the world to leverage blockchain on such a large scale. Indians send around 30 billion messages every month,” Sharma noted. Trai secretary SK Gupta said: “It is learnt that many telemarketing companies get registered with telecom operators to obtain subscriber details. The new norms will give access to only authorised agencies and only at the time when they need to deliver service. Also, details of only those subscribers will be given who have agreed to receive such calls and messages.”
He further said the new regulations have been drafted keeping in view that a subscriber may have give consent for a service, but that consent is liable to be misused. “So under the proposed regulation, a subscriber will be able to revoke the consent whenever he or she desires through the Trai app and other mechanisms that will be provided under the regulation,” he explained.
Issuing the draft Regulation, Trai has asked stakeholders to submit their comments on the same by June 11, post which it will finalise the norms. The final regulations are expected before July-end. Another step, which Trai feels will be effective in checking spam calls and texts, is to work together with telecom operators. “Co-regulation where operators/access providers establish and arrange framework, which is legally backed by regulation. Since telcos can be expected to guard the interests of their subscribers, Trai has opted for co-regulation to develop solutions that can better serve the needs of all stakeholders,” Trai said in the draft norms.