Thursday , February 21 2019

Facebook, Whatsapp to be regulated, Telecom Department tells Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The telecommunications department  informed the Supreme Court  that it will soon be making rules and regulations to regulate OTT services such as Facebook, WhatsApp etc.

On Wednesday the Central  Government  Conveyed  the Supreme Court that it would formulate a regulatory regime for all the telecom operator companies for Over-The-Top(OTT)  services like Facebook, Whatsapp, Wechat, Skype and Google Talk.

The telecom department argues that the services of OTT use the network of telecom services providers to reach the users and they offer app-based products and contend with them by offering telephone facilities and messaging services which are not subjected to any regime scheme.

The statement came in response to an Affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court which is filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen questioning about the privacy policy of Whatsapp and stated that it was maintainable as the “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 petitioner severely argued about the privacy issue and the Centre was converging on it, and the judiciary considered the issue to have a five- judge bench. The bench fixed April 18 for hearing the final disposal of the petitions and made a request that it should not be heard during the summer vacation.

Senior attorney Kapil Sibal and K K Venugopal who appeared for the OTT services providers, said that there no privacy issues and just it was a matter of agreement between the user and OTT service provider.

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The Petitioner attorney Madhavi Divan said that the privacy issue in Whatsapp has violated the right to privacy which is innately linked to the right to life under Article 21, it also violated the right of free speech under Article 19(1)(a), between the conversation of two individuals.

Advocate Sibal countered it by saying that the messages sent through Whatsapp have an end to end encryption which prevents even WhatsApp from reading them.

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