India proposes to regulate Internet communications services • CableFree TV

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

India has proposed regulating Internet communications services by requiring platforms to obtain a license to operate in the world’s second largest wireless market.

The new proposal by the Ministry of Telecommunications, titled “Draft Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022”, aims to consolidate and update three old regulations – the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933 and the Telegraph Wire (Illegal Protection) Act 1950.

The 40-page draft proposes to give the government the ability to intercept messages transmitted via Internet communications services in the event of “any state of emergency or in the interests of public safety.” It also grants the government immunity from any lawsuits.

“No action, prosecution or other proceeding shall be brought against the Central Government, State Government, Union Territory Government or any other authority under this Act or any person acting on their behalf, as the case may be, for anything that is done in good faith or is intended to be done in accordance with this Law or any rule, regulation or order issued in accordance with it, ”the draft says.

The draft also calls on individuals using these licensed communications applications not to “make any false statement, conceal any material information, or impersonate another person.”

Telecom operators in the country have long demanded regulation of apps like WhatsApp and Telegram “to get a level playing field” in the South Asian market. But the proliferation of WhatsApp and other chat services in India and beyond, which killed expensive text messaging rates in the telecommunications industry, hasn’t hurt consumers.

The Department of Telecommunications said it considered similar laws in Australia, Singapore, Japan, the European Union, the UK and the US in preparing its draft.

The proposed guidelines, for which the ministry will solicit public comments by October 20, are also trying to take broader steps to curb spam posts. India is one of the countries most affected by spam calls and text messages, which has allowed call screening apps such as Truecaller to deep raids in the nation.

The draft states that “any message offering, advertising or promoting goods, services, property interests, business opportunities, employment opportunities or investment opportunities” must be sent only after the prior consent of users. The draft also proposes a mechanism to allow users to report spam messages received, and recommends one or more Do Not Disturb registers to record users’ consent to receiving specific promotional messages.

It is noteworthy that the project appeared just over a month after India completed its $19 billion 5G spectrum. The country is expected to receive 5G networks this year.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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