Tech Mahindra, Microsoft join hands to curb pesky calls

Blockchain as a technology is a powerful tool to combat the issue of spam calls and fraud risks.

New Delhi: Tech Mahindra and Microsoft have partnered to develop blockchain-based technology to curb pesky calls and SMS as recommended by telecom regulator Trai.

"Tech Mahindra...announced today its collaboration with Microsoft to create a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based solution to build a robust ecosystem in line with the regulations issued by Trai," a joint statement by the two companies said.

Based on blockchain technology and built on Microsoft Azure, the solution aims at mitigating the issue of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) in the country, it said.

According to Trai's new rules to quell pesky calls, telecom operators are required to deploy blockchain-based technology to prevent unauthorised access of subscribers data, make system non-repudiative and enhance confidentiality.

This is apparently first-of-its-kind technology in the world to be deployed to prevent leakages of consumer information from unauthorised telemarketers.

"Blockchain as a technology is a powerful tool to combat the issue of spam calls and fraud risks, to protect user information, as well as the integrity of the telecom sector.

"This DLT-based solution will enable enterprises to stop financial frauds and perpetration of misleading financial information by unregistered telecom marketers who rampantly use the SMS service of telcos," Rajesh Dhuddu, Global Practice Leader, Blockchain, Tech Mahindra said.

Trai's new rules aim to ensure that subscribers' data is not visible to person operating the system in clear text or any application "other than the application performing the delegated functions".

The regulator has stated that UCC or spam calls are a major nuisance to telecom subscribers and has been working with stakeholders to curb this menace.

Trai had established a "Do Not Disturb" (DND) registry in 2010. However, while the registry has more than 23 crore subscribers, unregistered telemarketers continue to spam customers, obtaining their consent through fraudulent tactics.

"Tech Mahindra and Microsoft have been jointly working with Trai on this issue since the time this regulation was being formally structured," the statement said.

Any changes made in a blockchain-based system gets reflected across all the system or computers linked to it and it can be easily tracked when and where the changes were made.

The blockchain-based solution will enable telcos and registered telemarketers to take care of preference registration, consent acquisition, dynamic preference setting, stakeholder onboarding, header registration, template registration, scrubbing service, and complaint handling and tracking, the statement said.

The solution will be a shared, secured ledger of UCCs distributed across a network of computers, which will ensure a transparent and verifiable system to help companies mitigate UCC on their networks.

“Through this solution we will be able to help service providers be compliant with the new regulation. With a Microsoft Azure blockchain-powered solution, we will ensure that we mitigate loopholes used by fraudsters and spammers to reach end users,” Prashant Shukla, National Tech Officer, Microsoft India said.

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