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Caller Identification May Put Journalists, Victims Of Abuse At Risk: New India Consumer Initiative

Along with the restrictions to anonymous calls, NICI pointed out several other concerns for consumers such as impersonation, fraud, and privacy concerns

The protection of the identity of certain groups of consumers, such as those in distress, victims of abuse, whistle-blowers, and journalists, should be taken into consideration before introducing mandatory caller identification in all phones, said the New India Consumer Initiative (NICI). It pointed out that “these individuals may need to make anonymous or confidential calls to seek help or report abuse, and the introduction of CNAP (Caller Name Presentation) could put them at risk if their name is displayed.” This was in response to a consultation paper on CNAP floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The paper talks about enabling a system where the caller’s name is automatically displayed on the screen of the person receiving the call, every time a call is made. This has been proposed with the hopes of reducing spam calls. Along with the restrictions to anonymous calls, NICI pointed out several other concerns for consumers: Reliability of data: If a customer provides false or inaccurate information, this could lead to the display of incorrect names when they make calls, NICI said. Relying on Consumer Acquisition Form for displaying the names of callers is another issue of concern, it said.  User and subscriber could be different: Wrong names could be displayed if the user and subscriber of a number are different (For example, when a father buys a sim for his daughter). “This could lead to confusion or inconvenience, specifically in cases of phone theft detection, use of fake ids for multiple sim procurement, etc,”…

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I cover privacy, surveillance and tech policy. In my reporting, I try my best to present the most relevant facts, and sometimes add in a pinch of my thoughts.

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