Indian telecom sector regulator asks telcos to use AI to counter spam

Indian telecom sector regulator asks telcos to use AI to counter spam

New rules effective from May 1, 2023.

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a government regulatory body for the telecommunications sector, has asked telcos to set up compulsory artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based spam filters

The use of these filters has become mandatory from May 1, 2023.

The regulator's directive comes amid an exponential rise in scam calls and messages aimed at cheating people, especially the old and vulnerable.

TRAI has instructed Indian telcos, Bharti Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), to use filters to identify and block fake and promotional calls and messages from various sources.

Last year, TRAI ordered that the caller's name and picture should appear in the caller ID feature.

Earlier this year in January, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an industry association with over 30 members including major telecom companies such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, expressed concerns regarding user privacy.

The body argued that telecom operators should have the discretion to decide whether to implement Calling Name Presentation (CNAP).

Some existing private apps like "Truecaller" and "Bharat Caller ID & Anti-spam" offer features to identify the caller's name and filter out spam calls, but the names displayed on these apps depend on user submissions, which may not always be accurate, said TRAI in the consultation paper titled "Introduction of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) in Telecommunication Networks"[pdf].

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