Thursday, February 16, 2023

Threat to national security from OTT phone and text apps: Telcos to Trai

OTT call, text apps threat to national security: Telcos to Trai

 Delhi, India: Popular OTT platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, and Skype pose a threat to national security, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday by top mobile operators Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea with the telecom regulator Trai. In order to guarantee that internet-based communications businesses adhere to the country's regulations, they sought a licensing and regulatory system.

In a meeting with Trai chairman P D Vaghela, senior representatives from Jio, Vodafone Idea, Tata Tele, and BSNL, led by Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal, stated that despite the fact that OTT companies are increasingly accounting for a significant portion of call and messaging traffic, there are no such controls on mobile companies. In contrast, mobile companies are subject to stringent regulations such as "lawful interception" and licensing norms.

"When it comes to blackouts and outages, platforms like WhatsApp occasionally experience service disruptions without being asked about it. The telcos stated, "We are held accountable for service quality and even other consumer service parameters."

The new-age internet companies that ride over their networks, the mobile companies claimed, are also eating into their revenues, which is affecting their plans for network expansion and profitability. In addition to receiving an easy regulatory regime, the mobile companies said.

Telecom companies said that the majority of OTT platforms are app-based businesses that are operating in India in a "near regulatory vacuum" with few guidelines governing their operations, highlighting the "threats to national security."

In the past, platforms have refused to give up user data when asked by law enforcement agencies to do so in particular criminal cases. As a result, the government has already come under fire from OTT companies.

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