More reports on: Telecom

India losing fight against spam: COAI

15 December 2014
India's fight against spam seems to be going nowhere going by the general feeling permeating the corridors of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), communications and information technology ministry as also Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), reported.

At times, India seems to be winning the battle, but is losing when it comes to the overall picture with regards to spam callers. Telemarketers and others facing the government heat over cold calls and sending unsolicited text messages to people, are finding new ways of reaching potential customers or victims.

Industry experts said the decline in spam calls and texts had been offset by an increase in such communications through WhatsApp and internet-based tools. The number of consumer complaints being lodged through the TRAI website set up for the purpose increased and fell after the passage of the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (2010).

The Indian government had disconnected 12.6 lakh connections belonging to unsolicited callers, blacklisted 2.4 lakh telemarketers for two years and blacklisted another 19 permanently, according to The Hindu.

Network operators in India who failed to take action against cold callers had been fined Rs7.13 crore collectively. The war against spam however continues with WhatsApp and web-based communications being the newest frontier behind which telemarketers and similar troublemakers hide now.

However, industry experts warn that the steps might not be enough. The government's regulation that curbed spam calls and texts did not apply to WhatsApp.

Rajan Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, told The Hindu that spam sent over WhatsApp, internet-based spam calls and spam messages were not covered by current regulations which was a major new front for unsolicited calls and messages.

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