TRAI released a draft regulation [PDF] on Tuesday outlining a plan to combat SMS and call spam using blockchain technology. In what the authority described as a 'regulatory sandbox', telecom companies and TRAI will work together to build an encrypted and distributed database (which is where the blockchain comes in) which will record user consent to be included in SMS or call send-out lists. 'A major nuisance' Unsolicited Commercial Communications, the legal term for SMS and call spam, is something TRAI has spent a lot of regulatory energy on. In 2010, TRAI established a national opt-in registry of users who didn't want any spam sent to them. Over 23 crore phone numbers have been added to that registry since then. But spam hasn't stopped. The regulator says that even users who have registered on its national Do Not Disturb (DND) registry still get texts and calls from telemarketers. A lot of this spam comes from ten-digit phone numbers (the kind that's usually given to regular individual mobile subscribers). By creating a permanent distributed ledger, TRAI says that compliance to DND and consumer opt-outs from spam will be improved. Unregistered telemarketers will also be detected more quickly, the regulator said. Explicit consent In its draft regulation, TRAI said that when users give their phone number out to someone, that doesn't necessarily translate into consent to receive marketing information. If these regulations go into force, there will be a lot more oversight by TRAI and telcos on whether a spam sender actually got…
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