Over-the-top (OTT) apps or companies is not going to be coated underneath the just lately handed Telecommunications Act 2023, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw advised ET Telecom. The minister’s assertion comes days after Parliament handed the brand new telecom invoice that replaces three older legal guidelines, together with the 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act. The provisions underneath the brand new invoice scale back the powers of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and provides the federal government unprecedented powers, together with the power to take over telecom companies within the curiosity of nationwide safety.
After the Telecommunications Invoice (2023) was handed on Thursday, considerations had been raised over elevated scrutiny and interference from the federal government, if OTT communication apps like WhatsApp and Sign had been included underneath the scope of the brand new telecommunications invoice, it awaits the President’s assent earlier than it turns into legislation .
“[…]There isn’t a protection of OTT within the new telecom legislation handed by Parliament,” the minister advised the publication, explaining that these OTT apps are at present coated by the Data Know-how Act, 2000 and can proceed to be ruled by the identical legislation which is overseen by the Ministry of Electronics and Data Know-how (MeitY).
Earlier this week, Meta reportedly expressed concern over the telecom invoice in an inside e-mail to colleagues from Shivnath Thukral, director and head of India Public Coverage at Meta. The revised model of the Telecommunications Invoice handed by Parliament doesn’t include and seek advice from OTT or OTT platforms, however mentions phrases resembling ‘telecommunications companies’, ‘messaging’ and ‘telecommunications identification’ which may additionally apply to OTT platforms.
The Telecom Invoice now awaits the President’s assent earlier than turning into a legislation – it was cleared within the Rajya Sabha by means of a voice vote on Thursday, a day after it was handed by the Lok Sabha. The invoice is to exchange the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Wi-fi Telegraphy Act of 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Illegal Possession) Act of 1950.