Unwanted telephone calls that want you to buy a credit card or invest in a new home or offer personal loans could soon be a thing of the past.

For, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed a blockchain solution to curb such unsolicited calls and to strengthen the Do Not Disturb (DND) services that it launched in 2010.

Recorded consent first

The new regulation will require the recorded consent of the consumer before a third party can make such calls. This means that registered telemarketers will be able to call a consumer only after he/she has given explicit consent through either the DND 2.0 service app, an SMS or through a phone call. Also, the consumer can, at any point, revoke the consent.

No waiting

Further, since the new technology is more dynamic, the consumer does not have to wait seven days, as is the case now, to get the DND service activated.

Besides, all conversations between subscribers and business entities will be recorded to monitor if the regulatory norms are being complied with.

A first worldwide

Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma claimed that it is a first or the telecom sector anywhere in the world to use technology on such a scale to stop pesky calls.

“Blockchain ensures two things — non-repudiation and confidentiality,” Sharma said. The technology ensures that information is made available to people only on a need-to-know basis and only those authorised will be able to access subscriber details based on consent. Since all actions are documented using blockchain, they cannot be tampered with. Telecom service providers and other stakeholders will invest in the technology infrastructure to ensure regulatory compliance at the time of implementation.

The draft of the proposed Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 will be open to public for comments till June 11.

Though TRAI has been trying to stop the menace of unsolicited commercial calls for the last several years, the efforts have remained futile as unregistered telemarketers call or message from a 10- digit number that often could not even be traced.

In fact, in recent times the incidence of pesky calls has been on the rise.

Co-regulation proposed

Sharma said that the new regulation is an answer to these issues. In addition to new technology, the regulation also proposes co-regulation, where telecom service providers and access providers establish a framework backed by the regulator.

Under the new regulation, violation of consumer consent will result in stringent restrictions, penalties and disincentives for the stakeholders.