After numerous unsuccessful attempts at getting WhatsApp to make the messages shared on its platform accessible to the Government, TRAI is now making attempts to regulate the content on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other such OTT channels.
As per reports, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already passed on these regulations to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
What happens if these recommendations by TRAI are accepted by DoT? Find out right here!
Will WhatsApp and Facebook Be Regulated By TRAI?
WhatsApp has always faced pressure from Government where access to messages is concerned. The app has been ordered, requested by the Government to give access to the messages, but has always replied with defiance.
At one point, WhatsApp even threatened to quit the country if the pressure continued to build.
Now that you are up to speed, these platforms have already been under a lot of pressure for granting access to their messages, but they have always maintained their stand and said that they don’t have access to the messages themselves.
A TRAI official said that as of now, the OTT channels are not being lawfully intercepted. He also said, “This brings the question of regulatory imbalance between telecom players, which have to adhere to lawful requests of enforcement agencies for interceptions, and OTTs which don’t give, saying the communication is end-to-end encrypted.”
He also said that international practices are being researched and the content that is being followed outside of India should be given to the Indian Government too.
Lawful Interception Of Whatsapp: Legal Snooping?
The issue right now is, except for emergencies, Govt cannot lawfully intercept and snoop around your Whatsapp or any other messenger.
As per the Telegraph Act, 1885, Govt. can legally take control of the database or unleash surveillance on all communications, in case there is a public emergency or an act of riot, war or any such extreme situation.
But these incidents are rare, and Govt. doesn’t want to rely on the Telegraph Act carry such surveillance.
They want a default access to your Whatsapp messages, digital communications, and have control over them as well.
As per reports, registration of OTT apps, and messenger services running in India has been proposed, which will enable such lawful interception of messages, as and when required, without invocation of the Telegraph Act.
Mainly, Govt. wants to know the source of fake news, and violent news which leads to incidences of mob lynching and murders. But at the same time, they also want control over the digital communications via ‘lawful interception’.