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Deactivated mobile numbers not allocated to new users for 90 days, TRAI to SC

Mobile phone numbers once deactivated for non-usage or disconnected on the subscriber’s request are not allocated to new subscribers for at least 90 days, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has told the Supreme Court.

The apex court was hearing a petition raising concern about alleged misuse of data, after a mobile number gets disconnected or deactivated due to non-usage.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, which considered the TRAI’s counter affidavit, noted a subscriber can prevent misuse of WhatsApp data by deleting the WhatsApp account attached with the previous phone number and erasing the data stored on the local device memory, cloud or drive.

“We are not inclined to proceed further with the present writ petition, as it is clear from the counter affidavit filed by … TRAI that the cellular mobile telephone number once deactivated for non-usage or disconnected on the request of subscriber, is not allocated to the new subscriber for at least a period of 90 days,” the bench said.

“It is for the earlier subscriber to take adequate steps to ensure that privacy is maintained,” the top court noted in its order passed on October 30.

It further noted that as per the information available on the WhatsApp help center, “to eliminate enmesh/confusion in case of re-cycled phone numbers, they monitor account inactivity, and when an account is inactive for 45 days and then the account is activated on a different mobile device, the old account data is removed”.

Noting the contents of TRAI’s affidavit, the bench refused to entertain to the plea and dismissed it. PTI

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