Here are the three tech interventions that are needed for these solutions:
- Every SMS should sent have a clearly identifiable alphanumeric SenderID. Mobile numbers should not allowed as senderID, unless they are in response to a request originated by the user to that shortCode or longCode over SMS. This will prevent companies from putting arbitrary mobile numbers as SenderIDs preventing them from being traced.
- Every SMS being sent out should be through either a centralised system or an operator-specific system. This system should store the message copy, and do the actions outlined in the next point. For this, operators (or TRAI) should charge a small fee of something 0.02 paise per SMS to fund this new technology investment. Given that about 500 crore SMSes are sent each month, this will create a pool of Rs 10 lakh per month which should be more than enough to fund the additional technology needed.
- All messages should automatically have a footer appended to them. This footer will have a phone number (toll-free) that a customer can call, along with a 3-digit numeric code that identifies the message. This will make complaining very easy. I just click on the number at the footer of the message, type in the 3-digit number – and I am done. There is no need to call the operator. The code with the complainant’s mobile number will uniquely identify the offending message.