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Switch To “Do Call Registry”, SC Tells Government; Permission Based Regime Not Foolproof

The Supreme Court has asked the government to switch to a Do Call Registry within the next four weeks – i.e. telemarketing companies will only be allowed to call those in the registry, and calls outside of these will be deemed illegal. The Hindu adds that the Department of Telecom has also been asked to disconnect unregistered telemarketing companies.

While they appear to be just the inverse of the other, the difference between the do-call-registry and a do-not-call registry is a very significant one – in case of the do call registry, most users are automatically considered to have opted out. This is a permission based regime, and the onus is on the marketers to sign up users.

So what can we expect?
I think one can expect sneaky, though not illegal tactics: users are likely to be signed up for telemarketing using promotional contests, with an agreement to allow marketing messages under the terms and conditions. For example, I’d used ibibo’s free call to other users signup for a story I did a few months ago. Late last night, I got an SMS push from them. I also continue to get messages about gigs from the Hard Rock Cafe in Mumbai, where I had given my number when I’d organized a Mumbai Meetup a few years ago…careful where you give your number.

Importantly
this is likely to benefit permission based services like mginger, 160by2 and, content and community based services like SMSGupShup and MyToday, much more than a Do Not Call Registry. Careful, though – no such thing as a perfect implementation. I wonder if either mginger or 160by2 are planning voice based services.

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