Brazil’s Unique Way of Tackling Spam Calls: Commsrisk Show Episode 4

No nationality has a bigger problem with unwanted calls than Brazilians do. The country already had a lot of telemarketing calls that originate from domestic call centers that only serve the Portuguese-speaking population, but the situation worsened over time as ordinary people increasingly rejected those calls, leading to more telemarketing calls being placed to compensate, leading to even higher rejection rates. National telecoms regulator Anatel and various businesses have adopted or are in the process of adopting a string of innovations to address the problem, including:

  • attaching digital signatures that indicate the origin of telemarketing calls and which can be transmitted out of band so they are not dependent on the signaling used for the call;
  • giving consumers the power to check which phone numbers are used by which businesses through a web portal called “Qual Empresa Me Ligou” (“Which Company Called Me”);
  • creating a new number range that telemarketing businesses use for originating calls; and
  • disconnecting businesses which make an unacceptable number of short-duration calls.

These are developments that other countries should monitor and consider emulating, so we were thrilled that Gustavo Borges (pictured left) and Sami Benakouche (right) of Anatel covered these topics in a substantial interview they gave for this week’s episode of The Communications Risk Show.

My co-presenters and I also chatted about the inconsistency of data protection rules and enforcement, and how this could become increasingly problematic for comms providers that serve customers in different countries. Plenty of politicians talk tough about protecting consumers from big businesses that exploit their data, but are unwilling to deal with the issues caused when data flows between countries that set different expectations for how personal data can be used and whether government agencies will obtain access to it.

We stream The Communications Risk Show live every Wednesday at Video recordings are added to the website soon after every show is finished, or people who prefer to listen to podcasts can enjoy the audio version of the show at Spotify and Apple. You can also watch the replay of yesterday’s show below.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.