Stop Mobile Phone Spam

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Clearly the Do-Not-Disturb registry is not working. I am fed up of all the sms and call spams I get daily. I cannot take it any more. We need to do something substantial to stop this once and for all. We need something better than the Do-Not-Disturb registration.

My phone number is registered in the Do-not-disturb registry. I am among the people who rarely give their phone number to websites or some registration forms or at billing counters. Recently, my brother got unwell and I had to fill out some forms at hospitals and diagnostic centres. This included filling out my phone number because I had no choice. Additionally, to launch my personal website, I had to give away my phone number to the domain name registrar while purchasing domain. My last few weeks have been full of mobile spam messages for medicines and website related services. I even got few calls asking me to purchase bulk sms services. If my one week of giving away my personal phone number can bring so many spams to my phone, I wonder how much spam a person gets on a daily basis on their phone who use their phone number on various online and offline scenarios which purchasing a product/service. And considering that phones are practically our best-mates, are practically attached to us almost every second of the day, how much time and energy is an average person wasting on these unsolicited calls/messages? Its very frustrating to me and I simply can take no more. I now pick these phone calls and tell them that what they are doing is ethically wrong and must be illegal. It is even more frustrating to see that they know I have no choice and they can do whatever they want and spam me relentlessly.

Yesterday, I went to a reputed sports items reseller shop - a really good one. When we went to the billing counter, the first thing the check-out clerk asked me was 'Sir, your phone number, please?' (like almost every restaurant or shop does these days). Like before, my answer was, 'Sorry, I give my personal phone number to only my close friends and family. Wouldn't my name be enough? You want it for the billing, yes?'. He said, "Sorry sir, without a phone number we cannot generate an invoice for your purchase. We need your phone number. You can choose our do-not-disturb option and we'll never send you any email or phone or sms".

Wow! Isn't that surprising? It is a blatant breach of my privacy. It is like him saying: "Sir, please share one of your private photographs from your phone for billing purposes and I promise, I'll never share this with anyone and will even forget what I saw." This is ridiculous. Till now all previous billing counters agreed to simply take my name and generate a bill. How foolish can we be to accept this kind of nonsense and give away our phone numbers at every billing counter where ever they ask!

That is when I realized that we, the people, are taking our privacy, specifically, our personal phone number, too lightly and we are allowing these rampant marketers to do whatever they want.

I think we need these laws/methods in place to fix this issue:

1. SMS spam is illegal in many countries like Australia, EU, US. It should be illegal in India too.

2. Unwanted marketing phone calls should be illegal in India.

3. Like in emails, we should get a method to opt out of their phone list free of cost.

4. Then, if we still get another sms or phone from them, there should be a way for users to mark them as spam (without downloading any new app) so that in the future, calls and smses from that mobile number should not come (to the phone that marked it spam) and if enough number of people mark this phone number spam, every call or sms from that phone number should display 'spam call' or 'spam sms' to anyone they are calling, like it happens in emails.

5. Make a law where organizations cannot make giving phone number mandatory (like on billing counters) until unless its really required .

I request you to Sign my petition if you are also fed up of smses and phone spams. I will approach the TRAI with your signatures and will implore them to implement these laws/procedures in our phones.

Thanks,
Manoj Singh



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