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No proposal regarding legislation for regulation of OTT service providers at present: Dhotre

"In view of...above, there is no proposal regarding legislation for regulation of OTT service providers at present," Dhotre said reponding to a question on whether the government has any proposal to bring out a comprehensive legislation for regulation of such players. To another question on whether the government has any tool to intercept WhatsApp and other social media communications sent or received through their platforms, Dhotre said based on the situation, the government can order interception of messages in line with the provisions of Indian Telegraph Rules.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 16-09-2020 20:05 IST | Created: 16-09-2020 19:52 IST
No proposal regarding legislation for regulation of OTT service providers at present: Dhotre
Representative image Image Credit: Twitter(@SanjayDhotreMP)

The government on Wednesday informed Parliament that there is no proposal at present regarding legislation for regulation of Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given its recommendations on 'Regulatory Framework for OTT Communication Service', where it said no regulatory interventions are required in respect of issues related with privacy and security of OTT services at the moment, Minister of State for Communications and IT Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

The regulator further said it is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of OTT services, beyond the laws and regulations prescribed presently, and that matter may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions. "In view of...above, there is no proposal regarding legislation for regulation of OTT service providers at present," Dhotre said reponding to a question on whether the government has any proposal to bring out a comprehensive legislation for regulation of such players.

To another question on whether the government has any tool to intercept WhatsApp and other social media communications sent or received through their platforms, Dhotre said based on the situation, the government can order interception of messages in line with the provisions of Indian Telegraph Rules. Suitable mechanism to implement the order of interception of messages is deployed from time to time.

WhatsApp and many other social media applications make use of encryption technology and proprietary authentication protocols to secure messages, he noted. "Security agencies are able to intercept these encrypted communication services under the provisions of law through the lawful interception facilities. But they are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format as there are various aspects involved in getting such encrypted communication in readable format," he said.

These aspects include technical, international relationship, legal and regulatory policy, commercial and security requirements, he explained. "The government regularly interacts with the stakeholders including social media providers to address the issues and implement the solution to resolve the issues arising from time to time keeping in view the security, services and developmental needs of the country," Dhotre added.


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