WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook among others likely to be solicited to identify users, senders of messages

New Delhi: The Center has released the Telecommunications Bill, proposing to bring social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter under a telecommunications services license in India. The long-awaited bill establishes guidelines, mentioning that entities will have to comply with multiple obligations, including providing mandatory identification of their users.

If the bill passes, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook will have to identify the user of their platforms via a verifiable identification mode. It is worth mentioning here that these social media giants were against disclosing their users’ details in the name of privacy and free speech.

According to a report in HAVE, the identity of the person who sends a message using a social media platform must be accessible to the person who receives it. Previously, companies such as WhatsApp were of the view that it is not possible to identify all users of the channel because the technology does not allow it to track messages, due to the encryption technology it used.

In addition, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has expanded the definition of telecommunications services to bring over-the-top (OTT) services, satellite communication services, and Internet communication services within the scope of the proposed law.

Broadening the horizons of telecommunications services to take account of the present day, the draft law refers to them as “service of any kind (including broadcasting services, electronic mail, voice mail, voice, video and data communication, audiotex services, videotex services, fixed and mobile services, internet and broadband services, satellite communication services, internet communication services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, communications services communication services, machine-to-machine communication services, over-the-top (OTT) communication services) which is made available to users by telecommunication”.

The bill proposes that the Union government have the discretion to license an entity to operate as a telecommunications service provider.

Comments are closed.