Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype to be regulated soon: Centre tells Supreme Court

WhatApp, Facebook, Skype soon to be regulated by DoT

The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it would soon form regulatory guidelines to address the privacy concerns of citizens regarding ‘over-the-top’ services like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and Skype.

The Centre told a bench headed by Justice JS Khehar that the department of telecommunication (DoT) was working with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to explore a regulatory framework to devise a policy for regulating the OTT services in the country. The DoT would also take into account TRAI’s recommendations on the net neutrality while framing its policy, Tribune India reported.

The department of telecommunication (DoT) argued that the OTT services use the network provided by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and offer app-based services, and hence they should be subjected to a regulatory mechanism.

The assertion came in response to a petition filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen questioning the privacy policy of the social messaging app WhatsApp that allowed it to share the user data of nearly 160 million Indians with Facebook. While arguing that the WhatsApps new privacy policy was violating the privacy policy of individuals, Singh had sought TRAI’s intervention to regulate data by the OTT services in the country.

WhatsApp, however, had argued that there was no infringement of privacy of the users due its new privacy policy as the new encryption technology prohibited everyone including the company itself from accessing data shared between two users.

The bench would take up the matter for hearing on April 18.