Apply uniform data protection rules on OTT apps: Telecom operators to TRAI

By | November 14, 2017


By: PTI | New Delhi |
Printed:November 14, 2017 2:15 pm


Top mobile operators Airtel and Idea have asked the TRAI to set uniform rules to charge all over-the-top apps in mobile services Massive operators together with Airtel and Concept Mobile have argued that stringent knowledge safety guidelines relevant to them also needs to apply ‘equally and uniformally’ to different gamers like over-the-top (OTT) apps. (File Photograph)

Massive operators together with Airtel and Concept Mobile have argued that stringent knowledge safety guidelines relevant to them also needs to apply ‘equally and uniformally’ to different gamers like over-the-top (OTT) apps. They mentioned this in response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) dialogue paper on privateness, safety and possession of information within the sector.

These operators as additionally mobile business physique COAI have propagated ‘identical service identical guidelines’ for stakeholders together with OTT communications suppliers who provide voice telephony or messaging providers which can be just like that of telecom companies. OTT refers to purposes and providers that are accessible over the web and journey on operator networks providing web entry providers comparable to social networks, search engines like google and yahoo and video aggregation websites.

“On this sector, buyer privateness has three important sources of vulnerabilities — machine, community and content material suppliers — and any legislation that limits its scope to telecom service suppliers alone won’t be able to holistically tackle the problem of safety and privateness of non-public knowledge,” Bharti Airtel mentioned. Telecom companies and the opposite gamers working in the identical web ecosystem and coping with identical private knowledge are ruled by completely different guidelines and rules, it mentioned.

It mentioned provision of information privateness and safety embedded within the licences of telecom operators was sturdy and apt. The identical guidelines nevertheless didn’t apply to different entities like OTT communication service suppliers, content material suppliers, machine producers, browsers, working system suppliers that additionally operate within the web ecosystem, Airtel mentioned. “For instance, whereas TSPs (telecom service suppliers) should not allowed to ship the private knowledge of their prospects outdoors India, there isn’t a such prohibition/restriction on different gamers,” it mentioned in a written response to TRAI.

Concept Mobile additionally mentioned that OTT gamers providing comparable providers function in a “free, unregulated market surroundings” and numerous norms are adopted by the telecom operators to safeguard shopper knowledge, however not by such OTTs. It additionally mentioned that present provisions are enough to guard knowledge that operators have or carry in respect of the telecom subscribers, thus obviating the necessity for any extra mandate for the TSPs per se.

Concept has additionally underscored the necessity for an overarching framework that comprehensively addresses the definition of non-public knowledge and its safety mechanism, and goes past the operators to incorporate all entities within the digital ecosystem concerned in assortment, processing and utilization of non-public knowledge. For knowledge that’s “anonymised or aggregated” and can’t be used to establish an individual instantly or not directly, there shouldn’t be a requirement for any person consent, it has mentioned.

In search of a regulatory parity, Concept mentioned it’s only applicable that OTT gamers be “urgently” introduced underneath an acceptable framework that imposes identical obligations relevant to telecom companies in respect of information safety, safety, privateness and confidentiality. The Web Freedom Basis – which is a non-profit organisation fashioned by members of the SaveTheInternet.in marketing campaign for internet neutrality – has termed the current knowledge safety necessities as being “insufficient and utterly poor” particularly within the context of telecom subscribers.

“Given massive quantities of non-public knowledge are transmitted by way of smartphones, as well as the present rules, a complete laws must be made following the rules of the 9-judge bench judgement (Supreme Court docket) on the fitting to privateness,” it mentioned. The Basis additionally urged the TRAI to begin a public session and a probe into alleged “illegal and unconstitutional practices” relating to reported mass surveillance and repair supplier assortment of information on cell, web and landline customers in India.

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