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The Telecom Regulatory of India is seeking technological awareness and intervention programmes so that they can prevent unsolicited content download from the websites. Trai is taking some measures to tackle the serious problem of automatic download of videos without the knowledge of consumers. Trai said that it will come with some technical solutions to tackle the unsolicited online advertisements that lead to automatic usage of data of the users.  It is expected that the sector regulator will not float a consultation paper for this purpose. Prima facie content is not regulated but Trai will look at various tools and technologies and technology recommendations awareness campaigns than initiating any regulatory regime for preventing unsolicited content. Trai had conducted a session on the issue of “background auctioning and unsolicited downloads of data”. This event was conducted in collaboration with IIT Hyderabad where officials of many technology companies including Facebook and Google also participated. In Hyderabad on October 24, in an open house discussion the Telecom regulatory of India sought suggestions and insights on whether such automatic content downloads would need any regulatory intervention or not.  

Concerns over spontaneous advertisements 

There also occurs the consumer concern on spontaneous advertisements that occurs on social media platforms and some websites. These spontaneous advertisements start the automatic download of video content which makes the customers incur data charges without their consent. Whenever the user visits a website page, then videos start running in the background and those videos download the data. This is a very serious problem as it causes the “data shock” with users consuming data without having its knowledge. Even before the user hits the download button, the video content is already downloaded. The awareness campaign that Trai is planning would be aimed at educating the internet users on how to switch off the background data. There is no particular technical solution has emerged yet, but there are various systems available on Android and iOS configuration settings with internet best practices to prevent the unsolicited download. The telecom regulator is now exploring various free internet service models within the ‘Net Neutrality’ framework, after barring platforms like Airtel Zero and Facebook’s Free Basics.

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