News

Get rid of Spam: Control your SMS Messages by Confirming or Declining your Consent

Want to get rid of irritating SMS-spam dealings?

Yeah, you will soon be able to determine who should give you a text message by confirming your permission or refusing it. You can also tell the brand which day you feel good sending a promotional message at what time of the day. The challenge is, with over 400,000 companies who approach you as a prospective client, to do so personally.

‘Consent’ constitutes the third part of the blockchain-based mechanism, as specified by the Indian Telecom Regulatory Authority (Trai) to control the abusive, fraudulent SMSes. Operators have deployed the first two sections, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), of the world’s largest blockchain solution to monitor SMS trafic for approximately one billion smartphone users in India. The filtering of posts submitted by registered companies was dependent on their pre-registered header (e.g. VM-HDFCBK) and text.

However, considering the scale, the 3rd and perhaps most important factor to agree, approximately 400,000 businesses dispatch a billion transactional and promotional SMS every day from 15,25,000 headers. In the case of users, this is the most difficult and time consuming facilities.

Uday Reddy, chairman of Tanla Platforms, the blockchain service provider to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, BSNL and MTNL said, “The permutations of one billion customers submitting consent to 400,000 principal entities has created a massive database of 10 billion consents coming mainly from ecommerce giants and banks.”

“The DLT has an upload capacity of 100 tps (transactions per second), meaning it will take three years to upload 10 billion consents on it. Of course, implementation cannot be delayed for so long and so, the consortium of operators, including Tanla, IBM and Tech Mahindra, is working closely to overcome the challenge in the shortest possible time,” he said.

However, Trai has not yet defined a time-frame for implementing the third step for operators.

Large companies such as Swiggy, Amazon, Indian State Bank and Nike can easily obtain consumer consent via application and billing, including in-store transactions. But India has almost 63 million small companies who use or want the cheap, personalised SMS route to meet their marketing needs.

‘There is no digital footprint like an app in a town catering firm that sends 10,000 messages a month and cannot collect approval by sitting in an office,’ an industry analyst said asking for an anonymity. “It might move into a more pricier route of contact like WhatsApp Business to prevent trouble.”

Consumers may still submit consent under the Regulations by dialling the USSD string *#1909*, but the series contains almost 100 uniquely pressed versions.

The new technology was designed to alleviate financial theft using SMSes, industry executives said. “They have sadly continued unchecked into the SIM path that has no controls.”  SIM-based path applies not to official headers but to personal Communications that come with a telephone number.