The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has raised concerns over privacy and implementation in response to the proposal of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) mandating telecom service providers to display callers’ names.
IAMAI has argued that TRAI’s proposal to make it mandatory for telcos to enable calling name presentation (CNAP) presents a material risk to the privacy of Indian citizens. It may also endanger individuals preferring not to be identified to the caller and open up individuals from vulnerable populations to targeted harassment.
According to TRAI data, there are approximately 1145.5 million wireless subscribers and 26.5 million wireline subscribers in India as of September 2022. The implementation of CNAP for such a massive quantum of users would require telecom providers to put in place a secure, synchronised and robust system capable of supporting billions of calls daily. This will require a significant overhaul of the current telecom infrastructure, resulting in carriers incurring huge costs.
While we appreciate TRAI’s intent to eradicate spam calls, it is unlikely that the mandatory implementation of CNAP will be successful in doing so. Moreover, it will create a large privacy risk to users. In light of these issues, IAMAI has recommended that TRAI consider providing citizens with an ‘opt-in’ approach as an alternative. Giving citizens a choice to voluntarily opt in and out of CNAP services will ensure that citizens’ choices and preferences are put at the forefront while ensuring that their right to privacy is protected.