- TRAI has submitted its recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications, the government has to take a final decision on this
- Telecom operator angry, said – why are we leaving OTT platforms when we have regulations?
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said on several occasions that it is necessary to bring all OTT platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram under accountability. The Central Government had also started efforts for this. However, telecom regulator TRAI feels that there is no need. That is, let the user do what they want to do on these platforms. The government should not peep. The government has to take a decision on these recommendations of TRAI. Telecom operators are definitely angered by TRAI's recommendation. They say that when we have so much regulation, then why are these OTT platforms being abandoned. Understand the issue of regulation in 5 questions ..
What is the matter of OTT regulation?
- There was a long-standing demand that over-the-top (OTT) platforms should also be made accountable. In 2018, the pressure on the government for this was also increasing, because incidents of mob lynching were continuously coming out due to fake news.
- OTT Communication Services are basically Internet applications that operate from a network of mobile operators. In some way, it is not only the telecom companies, but also the competitors of news channels and newspapers.
- Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked WhatsApp in 2018 on the rise in incidents of mob lynching to convey the means of these illegal messages. Also help identify the sender of the inflammatory message. TRAI's recommendations are contrary to these directives.
What are TRAI's recommendations?
- TRAI has not named any firm in its recommendations under the name 'Regulatory Framework for Over-the-Top (OTT) Communication Services'. TRAI has clearly stated that no regulations are required for OTT platforms. These services also include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple FaceTime, Google Chat, Skype, Telegram and new services like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, Google Meets.
- TRAI also said that on the basis of the study of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in future, this issue may need to be looked at afresh. Possibilities of regulating these OTT platforms are being explored all over the world.
- On the issue of security and privacy, TRAI said that the structure of OTT Communication Services is still evolving. Encryption technology is being used to maintain the privacy of end-users. This prevents any authority from obtaining communication in clear text format.
Are TRAI recommendations true or false?
- Before arriving at any conclusion one has to think about what the consequences may be. Not having complete regulation can be dangerous. Platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp have become a means of getting news and information. When TV channels and newspapers can be blamed for inciting violence or spreading hatred in the community, why not social media?
- If TRAI believes, social media will have no accountability on this. All that will be asked is to remove the contents. On this accountability will also end. When laws have also taken social media as a media, then it must be regulated.
- TRAI's recommendations have angered the mobile operators' group COAI ie Cellular Operators Association of India. He says that it did not equal. OTT services will remain a threat to national security if such regulations are not in place.
- COAI DG SP Kochhar says that telecom companies are tied up in a strict regulatory and licensing framework. These OTT services can replace telecommunications services, so why are they not tied up in the regulation. This is not good with telecom companies.
What do these companies have to say on the regulation?
- Digital application providers like NASSCOM, US-India Business Council are against any kind of regulatory framework for OTT. OTT companies claim that their services are different from mobile operators. There is no dedicated end-to-end channel for communication.
- WhatsApp said that it would weaken end-to-end encryption if it developed the traceability feature. Will also affect the private nature of WhatsApp. The possibility of serious misuse will increase. We do not want to weaken privacy protection.
Are mobile companies losing money due to OTT services?
- it does not seem so. 5-6 years ago, the telecom operators had raised the demand that OTT platforms should be brought under the regulatory framework under 'One Service, One Rule'. At that time, calling from WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype was free and the telecom operators were at a disadvantage.
- However, times have changed now. At that time the data was Rs 50 per GB and the voice and message services were charged. After the arrival of Jio, the data has gone up to Rs 3-5 per GB. Telecom companies have also made calling services almost free of cost. Messages are also free.