Blockchain Technology May Be Used To Curb Spam Calls And SMS In India

Blockchain, News | May 30, 2018 By:

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed using blockchain technology to curb telemarketing spam via phone calls and text messages.

In a draft guidelines published on Tuesday, the regulator proposes adoption of blockchain to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to subscribers. The blockchain-based rules will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorized telemarketing agencies. It also proposes to check misuse of repeated unsolicited calls being made even to those subscribers who have given consent.

“Blockchain has proven useful where the objective is to cryptographically secure information and make it available only on need to know basis,” the draft reads. “Yet none may deny their actions or tamper with records, once recorded on the distributed ledger, which uniformly enforces compliance. It appears to be the first instance anywhere in the world to use this technology at such a scale in the telcom sector.”

Trai chairman RS Sharma said that what they are trying to do is ensure that all entities in the telemarketing chain are registered so as to fix compliance.

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

Trai Secretary SK Gupta said that that many telemarketing firms get registered with telecom companies to obtain subscriber details. The new system will give access to only authorized agencies at the time they need to deliver service and details of only those subscribers who have agreed to receive the message.

“A subscriber may have given consent for a service, but that consent is liable to be misused,” Gupta said. “Under the regulation, the subscriber will be able to revoke consent whenever they desire through a Trai app and other mechanism.”

The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft will be open for public comment until June 11, after which the regulator will come out with the final rules by July.