TRAI proposes use of blockchain technology to curb pesky calls, SMS

The draft will be open for public comment till June 11

trai-dnd-app The logo of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) "Do Not Disturb" app is seen on a computer screen | Reuters

Telecom regulator TRAI on Tuesday issued new draft norms to curb pesky calls and SMSes by using blockchain technology to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorised entities.

"Blockchain will ensure two things—non-repudiative and confidentiality. Only those authorised to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service... TRAI will become first organisation to implement this kind of regulation," said Chairman R.S. Sharma.

The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft will be open for public comment till June 11.

The new technology-based norms will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorised telemarketing agencies.

TRAI Secretary S.K. Gupta said: "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.

"The digital record will show entire communication between entries involved."

The draft proposes to check misuse of repeated unsolicited calls being made even to those subscribers who have given consent.

"A subscriber may have given consent for a service but that consent is liable to be misused. Under the proposed regulation. The subscriber will be able to revoke consent given to entities whenever he or she desires through TRAI app and other mechanism that will be provided under the regulation," Gupta said.