News Pulse India

Meta Is Afraid of Government Control of OTT Apps Due to Telecom Bill’s Ambiguities

<p>The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, which aims to change the legislation governing telecommunication networks and services, was approved by the Parliament on Thursday. In the interest of national security, the law, which was submitted on December 13 by Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology, would enable the government to temporarily seize control of telecom services.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-317165″ src=”–750×422.jpg” alt=” meta is afraid of government control of ott apps due to telecom bills ambiguities” width=”750″ height=”422″ title=”Meta Is Afraid of Government Control of OTT Apps Due to Telecom Bill's Ambiguities 6″ srcset=”–750×422.jpg 750w,–1024×576.jpg 1024w,–768×432.jpg 768w,–1536×864.jpg 1536w,–390×220.jpg 390w,–150×84.jpg 150w, 1600w” sizes=”(max-width: 750px) 100vw, 750px” /></p>
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<p>Despite the fact that the measure would give the Indian government significant authority in the telecom space, Facebook’s parent company Meta is allegedly worried that over-the-top (OTT) services might be subject to the proposed laws.</p>
<p>The internet giant is concerned that the telecom law may subject applications like WhatsApp, Signal, and others to government regulation, according to a report in Moneycontrol. According to an internal email from Shivnath Thukral, Director and Head of India Public Policy at Meta, to colleagues, the Indian government may decide at a “future date” to include over-the-top (OTT) services in the purview of the proposed law. This information was included in the report. This implies that more government oversight and intervention may be possible for Meta’s own programs, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.</p>
<p>Even if the law no longer uses the word “OTT,” there are still some unclear terminology like “telecommunication services” and “messages” that might have wide-ranging effects. The updated text of the Bill is now available to the public. All overt mentions of OTTs have been eliminated from the Bill in a very good step. The article cites Thukral as noting in an email written on December 18 that “some ambiguity remains – as the definitions of “telecommunications services”, “telecommunications identifier”, and “messages” could be interpreted to implicitly include OTT services, even if without explicit mention.”</p>
<p>Despite the phrase being removed from the law itself, Thukral said that the government might consider OTTs to be telecommunication services and subject internet platforms to regulatory scrutiny. Satellite Internet Spectrum Set for Auction-Less Allotment in Setback to Jio”. However, the email claims that the Meta representative said that he spoke with “the Minister” about the matter and was informed that the government did not plan to regulate over-the-top (OTT) services in accordance with the new telecom laws.</p>
<p>Google, Qualcomm, and Meta Are Working Together to Promote Open Digital Ecosystems in the EU<br />
On Thursday, the Parliament’s upper chamber approved the Telecommunications Bill, which had been approved by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The bill aims to modify legislation concerning the creation, growth, and management of telecommunications networks and services. It also proposes a non-auction method for satellite spectrum allocation and changes a few sections of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act (TRAI), 1997. The bill would also establish encryption standards and permit the government to intercept communications and provide them to investigating agencies in a “intelligible format.” These capabilities might pose a danger to WhatsApp and Signal, two end-to-end encrypted messaging systems.</p>

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