‘Pesky call norms not targeted at any firm’

R.S. Sharma

R.S. Sharma  

TRAI chief’s comments follow spat over iPhone OS limiting access to DND app

TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma on Tuesday said regulations to curb pesky calls and messages have nothing to do with a specific firm but aim to make it easier for users to complain.

This interaction follows debates over the fate of the iPhone in India as its maker Apple and TRAI have been at loggerheads on the issue of allowing access to the regulator’s DND application on its operating system.

“This is misconstrued situation,” the outgoing Chairman said during a live question-and-answer session on Twitter. “This regulation has nothing to do with any specific company or specific operating system. What it essentially says is that when I use a smartphone…if there is an unsolicited SMS or unsolicited call, I should be facilitated to make that complaint to the regulator or wherever the complaint has to be made... if you are using a smartphone, then the OS should enable, empower the user…,” he said.

The U.S.-based technology giant Apple and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India have been at loggerheads for almost a year on the issue of allowing certain access to the regulator’s DND mobile application. The TRAI app, which allows users to easily complain about pesky calls and messages from telemarketers, requires access to SMS and call logs on the mobile device. This requirement has been viewed by some stakeholders to be a violation of customers’ privacy.

‘User has right to share’

“Let us also understand that if I receive an SMS, it is my data. I, as a consumer, must have the freedom to share that data with anybody. I should be able to, let’s say, forward an SMS,” Mr. Sharma said. He added that earlier consumers were making a lot of mistakes while lodging a complaint, “…formatting the complaint, who called, what time that person called, what type of message was received... This used to create problems in investigation of UCC later,” he said. UCC stands for ‘unsolicited commercial communication’. While TRAI’s DND application is available on Google’s Play Store, Apple has not added the application to its App Store citing privacy issues as the app seeks permission to view users’ call logs and text messages.

Under its new regulations issued last week, the Authority said that operators should ensure that, within six months, all smart phones registered on their network support the permissions required for the functioning of such Apps. “

If such devices do not permit functioning of such Apps then Access Providers shall, on the order or direction of the Authority, derecognise such devices from their telecom networks,” the regulations said.

Some stakeholders have pointed out that TRAI does not have the power to regulate devices.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:09:00 PM |

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