New telecom Bill likely in 6-10 months: Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw : The Tribune India

New telecom Bill likely in 6-10 months: Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

No forced decryption of WhatsApp messaging

New telecom Bill likely in 6-10 months: Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

The new telecom Bill is expected to be in place in six to 10 months but the government is not in a hurry, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday. - File photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 23

The new telecom Bill is expected to be in place in six to 10 months but the government is not in a hurry, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday.

“We will create the final draft after consultation. That draft will go through committee processes of Parliament. Then it has to go to Parliament. I see a timeline of six to 10 months, but we are not in a hurry,” Vaishnaw said while replying to a question on the timeline for the implementation of the final Bill.

Licence may be needed

If the Bill gets approved, then Whatsapp, Zoom and Google Duo, which provide calling and messaging services, may require licences to operate in the country.

The Bill also seeks to replace the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.

The Department of Telecommunications introduced a new draft Bill yesterday that would change the way Internet-based messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal are used by people.

If the Bill gets approved, then Whatsapp, Zoom and Google Duo, which provide calling and messaging services, may require licences to operate in the country.

While the government has sought reference from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on licensing framework for Internet and calling messages, the Bill clearly shows the government intent to bring the OTT apps under the licensing regime.

“The consultation process for its regulation has already started. The focus of this Bill is that we have to make a light touch regulatory environment. Wherever required there should be strict effective regulation and in rest of the places there will be light touch regulation,” the minister said.

The Bill proposes all Internet calling and messaging apps to comply with the know your customers (KYC) provision when they come under telecom licence ambit.

The minister said the first fundamental thought in the Bill was about protection of users and every consumer had the right to know who is making the call.

“If calls can take place from different platforms then every platform needs to come under the same kind of regulation. This is not only in India, this is the thought process across the world. Technology has brought so many changes that the distinction between voice call and data call has disappeared,” Vaishnaw said.

He said that KYC norms would also help in curbing cyber frauds.

Tribune Shorts


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