Over-The-Top services like Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp to be regulated soon

Centre informed the Supreme Court that it would very soon form regulatory guidelines for Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype

Over-The-Top services like Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp to be regulated soon

As there are no regulatory norms to address privacy concerns of users of Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Centre informed the Supreme Court that it would very soon form regulatory guidelines for privacy concerns surrounding the services. The regulatory framework for OTTs will be the same as that of telecom operators. Department of Telecommunication (DoT) is working in close association with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to device the framework.

DoT stated that OTT services like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook use network provided by telecom service providers to reach out to customers. By using such network, the OTTs provide app-based services like messages and phone calls that are not yet controlled by any regulatory framework.

This statement came in response to an affidavit filed by WhatsApp in Supreme Court against a petition filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen questioning the instant messaging application’s privacy policy. However, despite opposition from OTT service providers, the centre referred the issue to a five-bench judge and fixed April 18 as the date of hearing.

Kapil Sibal and K K Venugopal stood for OTT service providers including WhatsApp and Facebook. They said that there is no privacy issue as raised by the petitioner. Opposed to this, petitioner's advocate Madhavi Divan said that inadequate privacy in such forms of communication platform violate the right to privacy and suppress the right of free speech. Kapil Sibal opposed this by saying that privacy is not hampered in WhatsApp communication because WhatsApp messages have end to end encryption and only two users can read those and not even WhatsApp.

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