oppn parties Trai Makes Stricter, Technologically Advanced Rules For Pesky Calls

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  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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Trai Makes Stricter, Technologically Advanced Rules For Pesky Calls

By A Special Correspondent

Trai has published the draft Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation 2018 (TCCCPR) and put it up for feedback from the public till June 11. These rules prescribe use of blockchain technology to control pesky calls by telemarketers by making the process transparent. It will also make detailed documentation possible and available for scrutiny. It is about time that something serious is done to eliminate the harassment mobile phone consumers experience at the hands of these pests plugging this or that loan, insurance product or mobile service.

Trai has covered all basic parameters to stop misuse of commercial communication, like defining Access Providers, Commercial Communication, Consent, Consent Acquirer, Consent Register and Registrar, Content Template and Customer Preference Registration Facility and provided a detailed plan of how these will be maintained. It has also set forth the functions, obligations and duties of both Access Providers and Consent Acquirer in detail. The best thing in TCCPR is that it provides for allotment of Headers, an eleven number (maximum) alphanumeric string using which Consent Acquirers can send commercial communication.

The other big innovation is the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) or blockchain to capture all transactions. DLT is defined in the rules as “Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT)” means a set of technological solutions that enables a single, sequenced, standardized and cryptographically-secured record of activities to be safely distributed to, and acted upon, by a network of varied participants and their (i) database can be spread across multiple sites or institutions; (ii) records are stored one after the other in a continuous ledger and can only be added when the participants reach a consensus. This will make the system fully automated and transparent.

But one thing which one thinks lacks in the rules is assigning a fixed number of pre-identified numbers through which commercial communication can be made. It is now seen that telemarketers have an endless supply of numbers through which they badger the customer. If one blocks a number, the same company uses another number to harass. Hence, Trai should modify the rules to include this clause that Consent Acquirers have to declare their numbers beforehand and must not use more than a maximum limit set by Access Providers. Also, a strict watch must be kept on blank calls received by customers from Auto-Dial machines.