TRAI has issued directives to commercial entities to seek user content before sending unsolicited commercial communication
Consent data collected from users will be shared on TRAI’s distributed ledger technology platform, which will be accessible for scrubbing by all telcos
Post the implementation of DCA process, all existing consents will expire and entities will have to seek fresh consent from users via digital means only
In a bid to clamp down on unsolicited marketing messages and pesky calls, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued directives to commercial entities to seek user content before sending such messages.
Setting into motion the implementation of the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) process, the telecom regulator will establish a unified platform for customers to digitally register or revoke their consent.
The move will enable TRAI to curb the menace of spam and other unsolicited commercial communications.
Users will be able to choose whether they want to receive such messages or not. The DCA platform will also allow customers to receive promotional messages from brands or companies they like to.
Currently, data related to user consent is obtained and maintained individually by various commercial entities, referred to as Principal Entities. As a result, it becomes difficult for telecom operators to verify user consent and, additionally, there is no single platform to register consent.
With the operationalisation of the new DCA platform, subscribers can directly file their willingness. Meanwhile, the information collected from users will be shared on TRAI’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform (blockchain), which will be accessible for scrubbing by all telcos.
In simple words, scrubbing means tallying a message with the assigned template and sender details mentioned on the digital ledger. Any promotional message would be sent to customers only if it matches with the template.
As such, operators can vet the authenticity of user consent and accordingly flag any pesky call to an unwilling user.
Additionally, a common short code will be established for sending consent seeking messages. In the messages, TRAI has mandated that the ‘purpose, scope of consent’, and the name of the commercial entity are clearly mentioned.
The directives also mandate that only whitelisted avenues such as call back numbers, URLs and APKs shall be used for seeking content. Telecom operators and commercial entities have been directed to establish an SMS-based or online facility to register unwillingness of customers to receive any consent seeking message initiated by businesses.
Post the implementation of DCA process, all existing consents will expire and entities will have to seek fresh consent from users through digital means only. The notification was first issued by TRAI in June this year and the deadline for compliance with the directives is till November 30.
The blockchain platform has been in the making for more than half a decade. Previously, TRAI, in a directive in 2018, had even directed the telecom operators to use DLT systems to decrease unsolicited commercial communication for customers.