OTT services like Facebook, WhatsApp may be regulated soon

Supreme Court,WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, WeChat and Google Talk
Supreme Court,WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, WeChat and Google Talk

NEW DELHI:  The department of telecom’s main argument was that OTTs use the network of telecom service providers to reach customers, offer App-based products as well as compete by offering messaging and telephone facilities, yet are not subjected to any regulatory mechanism.

On Wednesday, the centre informed the Supreme Court that it would soon formulate a regulatory regime for all telecom operators, for Over-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, WeChat and Google Talk.
According to the report, this assertion came in response to WhatsApp’s affidavit in the SC taking a stand that the petition filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen questioning its privacy policy was not maintainable as “OTT services are governed in some respect by the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 and are not subject to the same regulatory mechanism that is enforced on conventional voice and messaging services provided by telecom service providers”.

The bench referred the issue to a five-judge bench, despite opposition from OTT service providers. It fixed April 18 for hearing before the five-judge bench for fixing dates for final disposal of the petitions even as a request was made that it should not be heard during the summer vacation.

However, the petitioner Advocate Madhavi Divan said the lack of privacy in private messages over WhatsApp not only violated the right to privacy, which is intrinsically linked to right to life guaranteed under Article 21, but also stifled right of free speech, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a), in conversations between two private individuals.

“As messages sent on WhatsApp were an end to end encrypted preventing even WhatsApp to read them, so no question of violation”, countered Kapil Sibal by saying this.

Also Read: PM Modi congratulates BJP workers on party’s Foundation Day


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here