GoI to introduce regulatory regime for Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and K K Venugopal, who appeared for WhatsApp and other OTT service providers, said there was no issue of privacy involved in the controversy raised by the petitioner as it is a matter of contract between the user and OTT service provider but, the petitioner's advocate
New Delhi: The Indian government has decided to formulate a regulatory regime for Over-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, WeChat and Google Talk. The Centre, on Wednesday, informed the Supreme Court that it would soon introduce some regulations, similar to one existing for all telecom operators,for OTT services in India.
The argument given by the department of telecom in SC 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.
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The SC bench referred the issue to a five-judge division bench, despite opposition from OTT service providers and fixed April 18 for hearing and fixing dates for final disposal of the petitions. A request was also made that it should not be heard during the summer vacation.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and KK Venugopal, who appeared for WhatsApp and other OTT service providers, said there was no issue of privacy involved in the controversy raised by the petitioner as it is a matter of contract between the user and OTT service provider but, the petitioner's advocate Madhavi Divan said the lack of privacy in private messages over WhatsApp not only violated the right to privacy but also the right of free speech, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a), in conversations between two private individuals.
Sibal, however, countered this by saying there was no privacy violation as messages sent on WhatsApp were end to end encrypted preventing even WhatsApp to read them.