Indian Telecoms Authority Turns to the Blockchain to Protect Mobile Phone Users’ Privacy

While India has crippled its cryptocurrency markets with draconian regulations, the South Asian nation is however not willing to let the blockchain revolution pass it by. In the latest development, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), has turned to Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to curb the menace of sending unsolicited calls and text messages to mobile phone subscribers by telemarketers.

Application of the Blockchain Against Spamming

According to the Economic Times, the regulator has formulated guidelines on how it would use blockchain technology to curb spamming activities in the nation’s telecoms sector. With the new regulation, backed by DLT, telemarketing messages by authorized companies can only go straight to those who subscribed to receive such messages or calls. That’s not all, Trai has also made it clear that customer details will also be protected from unauthorized access.

Blockchain [technology] will ensure two things – non-repudiative and confidentiality. 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,” said Trai chairman, RS Sharma.

Of a truth, the Trai initiative is a first-of-its-kind solution for the telecom sector, even though the issue of pesky calls and spam messaging by telemarketers and telecom networks is a global pain in the nether region.

In Nigeria, mobile phone networks like MTN, and others continuously bombard subscribers with unsolicited messages. And even when users ask them to stop doing it, they would usually cease calling for a while, only to restart the spamming after some time.

No More Cold Calling

According to Tria, the new system will make it impossible for telemarketing firms to gain access to subscribers that are not interested in their products or services. Mobile phone users who had already consented to receive specific messages from their telecom service providers or telemarketers will also be able to unsubscribe at any time they wish.

“…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,” said Trai Secretary SK Gupta, adding “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 mechanisms that will be provided under the regulation.”

The proposed guideline is called the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 and is open for public comment until June 11, 2018.

With a subscriber base of more than one billion users, the latest guideline is a step in the right direction for India’s telecom industry, as it will go a long way in giving power back to the people.

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