Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea moved by Paytm seeking court's intervention in protecting its customers from getting defrauded through phishing that is taking place on various telecom networks such as MTNL, Jio, BSNL, Vodafone, Airtel, etc.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has issued notices to the Department of Telecom (Ministry of Communications), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, along with the aforesaid mobile networks.
It is highlighted by Advocate Karuna Nundy for the Petitioner that these fraudsters claim to be Petitioner's representatives, through unsolicited commercial communications, SMS or voice calls, in order to induce the Petitioner's customers to part with sensitive data that enables the fraudster to divert the customers' funds to their own accounts.
The Petitioner further argues that under the statutory regime it is the responsibility, and indeed the exclusive liability, of Telecommunications Service Providers (henceforth"Telcos") to prevent such fraud and deter fraudsters through blocking and/ or financial disincentives.
'The Telcos' failure to undertake proper verification prior to the registration of telemarketers enables fraudulent telemarketers to carry out phishing activities against the Petitioners' and associate/ group companies' customers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the z Petitioner argues, has also abdicated its statutory obligation to take action against the violations of the statutory obligations by the Telcos.
The petition states:
'a large chunk of UCC (and by extension, fraudulent phishing) emanates from Unregistered Telemarketers (UTMs), despite the prohibition on such communication. Such UTMs use mobile numbers/sim cards that have been issued without proper verification, which makes the senders difficult to trace even for Telcos over whose networks the UCC by the UTM has been sent.'
In light of this, the Petitioner submits that sending of UCC by a UTM therefore violates customers' fundamental rights to privacy and data integrity and also does not fall within the realm of balancing legitimate business interests.
Moreover, the Petitioner argues, It is also in violation of the stated purpose of the TRAI Act, to protect consumer interests and rights.
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