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The Indian telecom regulator on Tuesday notified the draft regulations to curb pesky calls and text messages by using blockchain technology, an official statement said here.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said "unsolicited commercial communication, or spam, is a major nuisance to telecom subscribers", and to curb the menace, TRAI established a "Do Not Disturb" (DND) registry under regulations made in 2010.
It said 23 crore subscribers have registered themselves on the DND registry since then. "But the problem was not fully contained because unscrupulous elements started obtaining customers' consent, often surreptitiously, or resorted to use of unregistered telemarketers that call or message from a 10-digit number. In more recent times, the incidence of fraud calls has also been on the rise."
The new features of the regulation are adoption of Distributed Ledger Technology (or blockchain) as the RegTech to enforce regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market.
"Blockchain has proven useful where the objective is to cryptographically secure information and make it available only on need to know basis. Yet none may deny their actions or tamper with records, once recorded on the distributed ledger, which uniformly enforces compliance," the TRAI statement said.
The new norms will co-regulate where Telecom Service Providers/Access Providers establish and arrange framework, which is legally backed by regulation.
"Since the telcos can be expected to guard the interests of their subscribers, TRAI has opted for co-regulation to develop the solutions that can better serve the needs of all stakeholders. This would, of course, be allowed only within the framework prescribed in the regulations," the statement said.
The new rule will enable compliance through innovation in technology solution that are demonstrated in a regulatory sandbox.
It will also provide for better control over all entities in the ecosystem and in the flow of commercial communications, beside detecting unregistered telemarketers through collaboration.
The draft regulation issued today shall be open for comments up to June 11, 2018.