Some of the biggest OTT (over-the-top) communication players, such as Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal, need to keep their users in India protected. There were a lot of talks about bringing OTT communication apps under regulation in the country. Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal all allow consumers to make calls and send texts over the internet. Unlike telecom operators, they are not under licensing norms for the communications sector. That was what the govt was looking to change.
However, now that might not happen. The Indian govt might not bring the OTT communication apps under regulation after all. This comes as a positive development for companies such as Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal. However, according to a Livemint report, the OTT communication players will still need to keep the protection of their users in India a priority.
As per a report from the publication, the government and the concerned companies have reached a consensus that user protection must be prioritised. Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said that the new telecom draft bill 2022 focuses on two things - a) regulations and b) protection of the consumers. The regulations are made with the perspective of user safety.
Further, the concerns around the dilution of the power of the sector regulator are no more there. The DoT (Department of Telecommunications) is going to add back the clause which requires the govt to seek reconsideration from TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) over matters where TRAI's recommendations were rejected along with a proper explanation for the rejection.
Hundreds of millions of users in India use platforms such as WhatsApp every day to communicate formally and informally. The govt wants to ensure that each and every citizen on the platform is safe from any harm or cyber fraud. This is what has been communicated to the tech companies as well.