Government proposes to bring internet calling, messaging apps like WhatsApp, Zoom under telecom license

The government has released the draft Indian Telecom Bill, 2022. It proposes that the definition of ‘telecom’ be expanded to include over-the-top (OTT) services, satellite-based communication services, Internet-based communication services, in-flight. and maritime communication services, interpersonal communication services and machine-to-machine communication services.

This means that as per the draft Indian Telecom Bill, 2022, Meta-owned WhatsApp, Zoom and Google Duo will be brought under the purview of the telecom license.

However, the government has proposed to exempt press messages that are intended to be published in India by accredited correspondents from the central or state governments, which can be intercepted.

According to the draft, “For the provision of telecommunication services and telecom networks, an entity has to obtain a licence.”

The last date for public comments on the draft is October 20.

“Knowing your views on the draft Indian Telecom Bill 2022,” Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said in a post on the social media platform.

The government has also proposed a provision to waive off fees and penalties of telecom and internet service providers in the bill. The ministry has also proposed a provision for refund of fee in case a telecom or internet provider surrenders its license.

According to the draft, the central government may waive “partially or wholly any fee for any license holder or registered entity, including admission fee, license fee, registration fee or any other fee or fee, interest, includes additional fees or fines”. Telecom rules.

The Bill proposes to exempt “press messages to be published in India” from interception by accredited correspondents of the Central or State Government.

However, exemption shall not be granted in case of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety, sovereignty, integrity or security of India, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, or preventing the incitement of an offence. contract.

In such cases, no person or class of persons, or any message or class of messages relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission, or transmitted or received by any telecommunications services or telecommunication network, shall be transmitted , or will be intercepted or detained or exposed? To the Authorized Officer, as per the draft Bill.

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