Turkey: ICTA's Decision Amending the Principles and Procedures on the Use of Calling Line Identification

Last Updated: 19 October 2018
Article by Gönenç Gürkaynak Esq, İlay Yılmaz and Burak Yeşilaltay

Most Read Contributor in Turkey, October 2018

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority ("ICTA") rendered a board decision amending the Principles and Procedures on the Use of Calling Line Identification ("PPCLI") on April 12, 2018. The aim of the PPCLI is to set out the rules and procedures regarding the use of Caller Line Identification ("CLI") by electronic communications service operators. The PPCLI did not include any information as to calls that were directed by an emergency call center to another residential area. According to Article 7(A), which was added by the ICTA's decision, these calls are left out of the scope of the PPCLI as an exception.

Article 7(A) indicates that the CLI to be used for these emergency calls will be determined by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Due to rising consumer complaints related to fraudulent calls and messages in Turkey, the ICTA decided in 2016 that there was a need to establish the principles and procedures that would enable it to prevent CLI manipulation. Therefore, the ICTA made an amendment to the Authorization Regulation Regarding the Electronic Communications Sector and issued the PPCLI. The ICTA first required all GSM operators to create the necessary infrastructure and then ordered operators to comply with the rules set out by the PPCLI. The PPCLI was structured and regulated in such a way as to be applicable to all uses of Calling Line Identification by electronic communications service operators, except for calls originating and terminating outside Turkey. Under this regulation, a specific number is assigned to the subscriber by the operator as a CLI in the "caller number" field inside the Call Detail Records ("CDR") and signaling information. It is essential that this number is used as the CLI that is conveyed to the party receiving the call. The operator will not allow users to change the CLI that has been determined by the operator and displayed to the receiver of the call.

As mentioned above, the PPCLI applies only to calls originating from Turkey. According to Article 5 of the PPCLI, if the CLI is left blank or is displayed in an incomplete format or includes alphanumerical characters for calls originating within Turkey, these calls shall be blocked by the operators. On the other hand, according to the PPCLI, calls originating from other countries should be blocked by the operators if they use numbers within the scope of the Turkish national numbering plan (i.e., all numbers allocated to Turkish operators, administrations and emergency services in Turkey) as their CLI. Subsections 2 and 3 of Article 6 of the PPCLI also dictate that if the CLI is left blank or includes alphanumerical characters (e.g. letters) for calls originating from outside Turkey, these calls must be blocked by the operators as well.

Apart from the foregoing, the PPCLI also provides an exception with respect to messaging services, such as SMS and MMS. In terms of these services, the PPCLI allows operators to use alphanumerical sender identifications as CLI upon the subscriber's written request. In that case, a number will be assigned to the subscriber in accordance with the applicable legislation. CDRs must include the number assigned to the subscriber in the "calling number" field, and the alphanumerical sender identification must be shown in the "displayed number" field. The number assigned to the subscriber and the sender identification shall be provided to the ICTA by the operators as "subscriber registry information," as stated in Article 7(1) of the PPCLI. This requirement is also applicable to calls originating in Turkey where the sender wishes to use an alphanumerical sender identification (i.e., custom sender ID).

The PPCLI imposes an obligation on the operators to take all the necessary and 28 appropriate measures to ensure that an alphanumerical CLI (i) is not erroneous or misleading, and (ii) does not include a statement or term that does not identify the sender. In this context, operators are also required to (i) obtain certain documents listed in the PPCLI attesting to the ownership and/or legality of use regarding the CLI employed, depending on its type (e.g., identification card, trade registry, company name, trademark name, domain name, official documentation from a governmental institution or public organization, etc.), and (ii) provide these to the ICTA if and when requested, as stipulated in Article 7(2) of the PPCLI. It should be noted that this obligation is not a registration obligation. Rather, this is an obligation on the operators to retain and preserve information and documents regarding the identity of the sender, as listed in Article 7(2) of the PPCLI, to be submitted to the ICTA, if and when requested.

The ICTA is entitled to take all the necessary measures in case of the operators' failure to comply with these principles and procedures, and it has issued administrative monetary fines to the operators for failing to comply with the PPCLI several times in the past.

This article was first published in Legal Insights Quarterly by ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law in September 2018. A link to the full Legal Insight Quarterly may be found here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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