Regulators

In collaboration with TSPs, Trai plans to bring new blockchain tech to curb spam calls and messages

Telemarketers registered on the DLT platform will only be allowed to share promotional messages. 

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Mumbai: On Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said that it is working on various technologies to detect spam calls and messages using blockchain technology. 

Along with this, the regulator is taking action to form a joint committee of regulators (JCOR) consisting of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities & Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) and the ministry of consumer affairs (MoCA). The committee will be responsible for framing a joint action plan to curb financial fraud using telecom resources. 

In an official meeting held on 10 November, attended by representatives of the department of telecommunications (DoT) and the ministry of home affairs (MHA), the measures to further reduce UCC were thoroughly discussed.

"Now complaints are reported against unregistered telemarketers (UTMs), where a surge has been seen in pushing various kinds of UCC SMSs," said the official statement. "Additionally, UCC calls are also one of the concerns which need to be dealt with equally along with UCC SMSes."

Trai is taking the necessary steps, in collaboration with various stakeholders, to check UCC from UTMs as well. Implementation of the UCC detect system, provision of digital consent acquisition, intelligent scrubbing of the header and message templates using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and so on are among the steps involved.

To combat the threat of spam calls and messages, the authority has issued the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, which established a blockchain-based ecosystem known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). 

DLT, the first of its kind in the telecom industry, has increased transparency among TSPs and regulators in the management of spam and UCC. 

The regulation mandates the registration of all commercial promoters and telemarketers to register on the DLT platform and seek customer consent for receiving various kinds of promotional messages at the time and day of their choice.

Under the framework, about 2.5 lakh principal entities have been registered, with more than six lakh headers and approximately 55 lakh approved message templates, which are being pushed to consumers through registered telemarketers and TSPs using DLT platforms.

The regulator said that the framework has resulted in a substantial reduction of customer complaints, to the extent of 60 per cent for registered telemarketers. However, non-registered callers continue to spam mobile subscribers.

"Trai also runs various campaigns to educate consumers, make them aware of provisions and safeguards in the regulations, and alert them to such fraudulent messages," it said.

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