The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) plan to deploy the world’s largest blockchain use-case in the telecom sector to curb the menace of spam messages is facing a legal hurdle, following protests by telemarketers.
One such telemarketer, Venets Media, has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, alleging that TRAI’S move is detrimental to free, fair commerce and competition, regulatory ethics, and also the arm’s length principle. It added that software company Tanla Solutions, an implementing partner of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) for Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), is itself a telemarketer, thus raising conflict of interest issues.
In the petition, Venets Media added that the regulator has not addressed the concerns of thousands of aggregators, telemarketers, value added service providers, and resellers, in sharing, uploading and getting pre-approved the sensitive and commercially invaluable client data to a platform controlled by a dominant private operator, with similar business interests.
The Delhi High Court has granted TRAI time till June 15, 2020 to file a reply on the matter.
Telemarketers fear Tanla will be able to monitor promotional, transactional and commercial service SMSs that may give it an unfair competitive advantage over smaller firms. According to them, this can even create a cross-regulatory concern because there is no standard format or regulation for consent and sharing a user’s data.
Other similarly placed regulators, like IRDAI, SEBI, RBI, etc. could have different set of rules and service obligations, which might require the service providers to ensure privacy, confidentiality and privilege of sensitive, commercial dealings or financial information, Venets added.