Indian Telecoms Watchdog to Combat Nuisance Calls with Blockchain

India's telecoms regulator plans to leverage blockchain technology to combat unsolicited phone calls and SMS messages.

AccessTimeIconMay 30, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
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India's telecoms watchdog is planning to leverage blockchain technology to combat nuisance calls and SMS messages.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued draft regulation on Tuesday, marking its intent to utilize the nascent tech in offering a more "agile" process to deal with unsolicited commercial communications from "unscrupulous elements" who evade current systems set up to deal with the issue.

The draft – called "Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018" – is intended to allow millions of Indian subscribers to take control of voice calls and text messages that they receive, giving them the choice to opt in or out of marketing communications at any time and more power to complain to their telecoms providers about problematic third-parties.

According to a note to the media, TRAI is proposing the adoption of distributed ledger technology for the new system to "enforce regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market," stating that that the cryptographically secure and tamper-proof tech has proven useful elsewhere.

TRAI further suggests:

"It appears to be the first instance anywhere in the world to use [blockchain] technology at such a scale in the telcom sector."

The proposed regulation also recommends enabling compliance via a regulatory "sandbox," where new technology solutions are first demonstrated before being deployed for real-world use.

TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma said in a news report from The Economic Times, "Consumers will take much better control," adding that the draft will be open for public feedback until June 11.

Sharma said:

"Blockchain will ensure two things non-repudiative and confidentiality. Only those authorized ... will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service."

Unhappy cellphone user image via Shutterstock

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