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Unsolicited calls, messages remain a challenge despite govt’s efforts

It seems one has to live with the pesky calls and messages troubling us on a daily basis as there is no foolproof mechanism yet to control the unsolicited commercial communications (UCC). Despite efforts put in by the government to check such calls, including working with other countries where some of these calls originate from, the challenge is stiff as such companies continuously come up with new ways to counter such mechanisms with the help of fast-emerging new technologies, a senior DoT official has said.

“In digital systems, even in Apple phones, other smartphones and Microsoft systems, you will find vulnerabilities. It’s everywhere. Nobody is able to plug in a solution with 100 per cent certainty. It is not fair to expect that what if we plug in a solution today, there will be no problem tomorrow. It will not happen. But we are there to look at the problem at hand every day to figure out a solution,” said a senior government official.

He said there are a lot of messages and calls still happening from abroad, including countries like Cambodia, and the government is working on solutions to check this. But the challenge is that everything is in the form of data now, and it is difficult to identify and block much of it.

The official also said that the law enforcement division and Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are working in tandem with the countries where such calls are originating for phishing and other cybercrime-related calls.

Last week, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti had said that the regulator had taken note of the problem and would bring out a consultation paper next month to “significantly revise regulation,” so the UCC issue is better addressed.

“We are going to significantly revise the regulations so that all these problems of UCC can be resolved… We will tighten the mechanism to clamp down on calls being made from normal 10-digit numbers and (will also address) other forms of misuse. We are working on it and will come out with a consultation paper next month,” Lahoti said, adding that the Consumer Affairs Ministry, too, is working on the issue of tackling UCC-related problems.

“The entire government… different departments are working in tandem and are completely conscious of the problem and are looking at ways to address it,” he added. The Hindu BusinessLine

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