Annoyed by repeated calls and messages from telemarketing agencies even after enlisting yourself in the ‘do not disturb’ list? The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is proposing new rules that it hopes will protect consumers and impose penalties up to Rs 76 lakh per month on violators.
The TRAI is looking to utilise blockchain technology to ensure that only authorised telemarketing agencies can contact only those who have subscribed to the messages, reports the Press Trust of India. This is reportedly the first time blockchain technology will be used to “prevent unauthorised access of subscribers’ data, make the system non-repudiative, and enhance confidentiality.”
“The consent of customers has to be recorded digitally. Blockchain will ensure two things — non-repudiation and confidentiality,” said TRAI Chairman RS Sharma.
“The new system will capture details of who has been authorised and by whom. Only those business entities authorised to access subscriber details will be able to do so and only when they need to deliver the telemarketing service,” he added.
Subscribers should also have the option to withdraw permission that they had earlier given to business entities through apps, website, text messages etc., at any given time, and the “same should be updated in the blockchain system within 24 hours,” suggests TRAI’s proposal.
“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 all communication between entries involved,” said TRAI Secretary SK Gupta, to the Press Trust of India.
All telecom operators will have to submit a code to enter the blockchain-based system. “In case operators fail to curb pesky calls and the SMS menace, a slab-based penalty will be imposed for every violation that has occurred, with an upper cap of Rs 76 lakh per month,” reports PTI. If vendors violate these norms, telecom operators can also impose a penalty.
The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft will be open for public comment until June 11.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)