TRAI on Monday asked telecom companies to take immediate action to curb pesky calls and messages by getting banks and FIs to clean up unused templates, as the regulator initiated a slew of steps to crackdown on the issue of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) that, at times, leads to instances of frauds and scams.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of Indian (TRAI) held a review meeting with telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone Idea (VIL) on issue of UCC detect system. During the meeting, Vodafone Idea made a presentation on a AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) system that can analyse and detect patterns when it comes to fraudulent messages being sent from mobile numbers by scammers.
TRAI said permission will now be given to VIL for a pilot, and based on its success TRAI will come out with principles/regulations for such solutions in the industry. The deadline for review of implementation of UCC detect system using AI/ML is May 1. "Today we have made it very clear that telcos have to come out with an integrated system of stopping frauds (calls and messages). They are doing work...but more needs to be done," TRAI chairman P D Vaghela told reporters after the meeting with telecom operators on Monday.
TRAI said from May 1, the blockchain based DLT system will also be implemented for voice calls, just like it is in place for unsolicited messages at present. TRAI reviewed implementation of directions it had issued on clean-up of headers and content templates and asked telcos to take immediate action to curb pesky calls and messages.
Telecom companies will nudge principal entities (PEs) such as banks, financial institutions (FIs) and others to clean up unused headers and templates immediately. TRAI wants banks, FIs and other PEs in the business of sending SMS to take action immediately and clean up headers and templates, and if they fail to do so, the regulator will be consTRAIned to block their messages in DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) in consumer interest, sources said.
All PEs will be required to block unused headers and templates within 30 days and 60 days, respectively. Complaints received at Cyber Crime Cell of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) will be shared with all telecom service providers for necessary action. The action plan on UCC crackdown also includes sharing of information on suspected spammers and scammers by service providers on the common platform and blocking of messages transaction proactively, as well as bringing all voice based telemarketers on a common platform (DLT) for better monitoring and control. TRAI is also keen that fresh series of numbers be allocated for voice calls (related to transaction or service calls) made by banks and other entities.