India’s telecom regulator is mulling regulation of messaging services platforms like Whatsapp and Hike
Telecom regulatorson Monday rolled out a discussion paper on whether Over-the-top (OTT) services - Skypeand Hike – should be regulated.
- The paper mainly aims at economic and security matters since such apps are sometimes ‘misused’ to spread harmful rumours.
- India’s telecom companies have been demanding the OTT services to also come under regulatory framework.
These widely used messaging services, also known as Over The Top (OTT) services are the ones accessible over the internet and rely on network operators for use.
The discussion paper titled, ‘Regulatory Framework for Over The Top Communications Services’ will analyse possible regulation and its implementation, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India reportedly said.
Telecom regulators have also stated that OTT services lack interoperability leading to dominance and accused them of abusing market power – a WhatsApp user can not connect over the call with another user on a different platform.
Currently, the OTT service providers are governed by certain rules under the Information Technology Act and tax laws which are considered inadequate by the telecom industry.
The paper has also sought views on if the licensing conditions should be refined and if regulation to ensure service quality should be upgraded.
The apps in question have recently invited scrutiny and controversy especially as they have often been misused to spread rumours, fake news or inappropriately divulge confidential personal information, which have proved difficult to contain by cyber security experts.
OTT providers, on their part, have opposed suggestions of regulation as this would potentially curb innovation.
WhatsApp has also taken a number of initiatives in an effort to combat the issue of
It had released short clips explaining the users on how they can verify fraudulent messages.
Earlier, WhatsApp has also reportedly told Indian regulators it was in the process of building a local team in India to help in its efforts to tackle fake news.
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