Indian phone users you may not have to wonder who this person who calls “unknown” for too long is. The regulatory changes being considered can help them avoid this annoying telemarketing and annoying call from a bank customer service executive trying to sell insurance.
In an attempt to combat the scourge of spam calls, India’s telecoms regulator is in the process of developing a consultation document that supports a mechanism that would allow phones to display the name of a caller. that the number is not stored on that person’s phone. This name will be obtained from the Know Your Customer (KYC) data that telecom operators must collect from users before providing them with a SIM card.
“We are in the process of preparing a consultation document,” Syed Tausif Abbas, an adviser to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India, told WIRED. “It may take at least a month. Once the paper is ready [ready]it shall be in the public domain for the comments of interested parties “.
India has witnessed a sharp rise in spam calls over the past year. According to a report by the Swedish company Truecaller, which considers India to be its largest market, the country was the fourth most sent out of 20 junkers surveyed in 2021, from the ninth highest in the previous year. . More than 200 million calls came from a single spammer between January and October 2021, according to the company. Although most calls were spam, more than 1 percent of them were scams in which callers pretended to be from a bank or financial technology company and asked to customers their personal data. In recent years, Indians have had to deal with a barrage of fraudulent calls that have resulted in some people losing money.
While Truecaller (and similar applications) can help identify the identity of the caller in some cases, the information may not be accurate, as it should be applied in groups rather than based on official data. And while India’s attempt to fight spam and larger-scale scams may help make citizens more aware of who is calling them, some policy experts say the effort will be futile and raises privacy issues.
Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Center for Internet and Society, says knowing who a number is connected to and being able to dodge spam or scam calls would be helpful in some way. “It might be good for people to know you’re talking to such and such, or your cell phone is registered with such and such a name, [especially] if they have been the object of fraud or something similar. So, bottom line is that we’re really looking forward to it, “Prakash said.
His main concern about this proposal is to share KYC data with the government in the absence of a comprehensive data protection law in India. “There is an anemic disposition of IT [Information Technology] Act, which acts as a data protection provision, so what the government does with the data you have entrusted to it is not really governed by a law, “says Prakash. That said, the draft is expected to Data privacy law will soon be discussed in the Indian Parliament and, if passed, could provide a layer of protection for users ’data.
But there are other concerns. Shalini Sivasubramanian, a senior researcher at the Center for Policy Research, questions the overall usefulness of the plan: if the intention is just to let people know who is calling, it does not address the underlying problem of spam. “What good is it if it only notifies the caller that the person is calling,” he says. “Not completely resolving spam call issues”.
Sivasubramanian points to the U.S. Caller ID Act, which President Barack Obama signed in 2010, as an approach in which he could use India. This legislation prohibits forgery and prosecutes automated calls, and also has an authentication feature to automatically identify automated calls. “The United States has protocols on how to authenticate calls that filter out automated calls and [then] they have prosecution for that, “says Sivasubramanian.” Here [in India], just showing the caller ID, I know the number, but will it cause less frustration just because I can see a name associated with this spam call? I do not think so.”