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    TRAI fines Airtel, BSNL, Jio, Vi among others for not blocking fake messages by cybercriminals

    The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed a fine of Rs 35 crore on eight telecommunications companies including Airtel, BSNL, Jio and Vi for allowing cybercriminals to send fake SMS to digital payment users. Other companies that have been penalized by the regulator are MTNL Videocon, Tata Teleservices and Quadrant Teleservices.

    “As per regulation 27 of the TCCCPR (Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations), 2018, the Authority (Trai) can impose financial disincentives on any access provider if it fails to curb unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) through its network “Trai said in the affidavit filed on Monday. The criminal document was consulted by Mint. BSNL attracted the highest penalty of Rs 30.1 crore followed by Vi, Quadrant and Airtel who attracted a penalty of Rs 1.82 crore, Rs 1.41 crore and Rs 1.33 crore.

    According to reports, TRAI cannot impose sanctions on telecom operators without giving them sufficient time to block phishing activities on their network. However, BSNL did not respond to the regulator’s demonstration cause warnings and produced no performance monitoring reports. The other telecommunications companies also failed to curb the UCC order and received a fine.

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    TRAI, in separate orders to the companies, said BSNL, Vi, Jio, and Airtel even misreported unsolicited call and message counts on their networks. Trai noted that as of November 23, approximately 223,000 headers of various major entities have been registered on a new system aimed at improving oversight.

    According to TRAI’s investigations, telecom companies had not been diligent in monitoring the type of communication sent to users and thus violated the regulator’s code of conduct, ET Telecom noted. Fake headers and messages are sent to say they are from banks or payment executives to obtain private details from unsuspecting customers to gain access to their bank accounts and siphon funds.

    To prevent spam SMS, companies are asked to submit their headers and content on a blockchain-based platform run by telecom companies.

    In June, Paytm filed a Rs 100 crore defamation lawsuit against telecom operators including Airtel, Reliance Jio, BSNL, MTNL and Vodafone Idea for failing to block phishing activities on their networks, resulting in financial losses for the company. fintech company. In September, a written petition was filed by the technology industry body, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) along with other digital fintechs including PhonePe and MobiKwik in the Delhi High Court against telecommunications companies.

    BSNL got the highest penalty of Rs 30.1 crore followed by Vi, Quadrant and Airtel who attracted a penalty of Rs 1.82 crore, Rs 1.41 crore and Rs 1.33 crore respectively.

    News Underline:

    • BSNL did not respond to the controller’s cause-demonstration warnings and did not produce performance monitoring reports.
    • Other telecommunications companies also failed to curb the UCC order and received a penalty.
    • TRAI, in separate orders to the companies, said BSNL, Vi, Jio, and Airtel even misreported unsolicited call and message counts on their networks.
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