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After social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, govt looking to regulate calling apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger

The DoT's plan comes at a time when when the government is in a tussle with Facebook-owned WhatsApp and social media platforms.

May 28, 2021 / 09:47 AM IST
WhatsApp and the government are in a legal battle over the messaging app's revised privacy policy.

WhatsApp and the government are in a legal battle over the messaging app's revised privacy policy.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering bringing calling apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype under its purview.

The DoT is mulling this move from a national security point of view, and has sought comments from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs before preparing a licensing system, The Economic Times has reported.

"Some sort of licensing is required so that these companies store data of Indians within India like telcos do and give information to law enforcement agencies in a manner similar to that provided by telcos," a government official told the publication.

Also read: Govt hits back, says Twitter's statement baseless, false and attempt to defame India

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

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The DoT's plan comes at a time when when the government is in a tussle with Facebook-owned WhatsApp and social media platforms.

WhatsApp and the government are in a legal battle over the messaging app's revised privacy policy. Also, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are yet to comply with the Centre's new guidelines, though the deadline for compliance was May 25.

According to the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, platforms will have to trace the "first originator" of a piece of content in a law-and-order situation.

This means that messaging services such as WhatsApp will have to break end-to-end encryption, which protects privacy of messages.

DoT officials told The Economic Times that the comments on regulating communication apps were sought from the home ministry before the feud escalated in the past week.

"…we weren't in agreement with Trai's recommendation (on not regulating OTT communication platforms)," an official told the paper.
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first published: May 28, 2021 09:47 am

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