The fresh initiative by the Union telecommunications ministry to tackle pesky calls is welcome. Cracking down on such unwelcome calls, which are a source of great irritation to telecom subscribers, comes after earlier attempts like setting up the Do Not Disturb registry have been bypassed by telemarketers. With a large army of educated, unemployed youth cheaply feeding into the staffing needs of telemarketers, the number of pesky calls have multiplied manifold. In the absence of monetary penalties and other regulatory deterrence, there was no incentive on the part of telemarketers to change their ways.
The digital intelligence unit to investigate mobile frauds will also have its hands full. For one, the linkages between telemarketers and those fraudulently peddling financial products has to be more thoroughly investigated. The recent crackdown on mobile lending apps revealed that these used fully equipped call centres to act as collection agents to force debtors to repay.
On top of this there is today easy access to personal data, which makes it simple for telemarketers to commit financial fraud on gullible consumers, especially the elderly. A data protection law to prevent the leakage of consumer telecom and financial information in the possession of telecom and banking companies is also necessary.The new digital intelligence unit must effectively invoke penalties and choke telecom resources to those abusing teleconnectivity. Otherwise, there will be no end to this menace.
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