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1st October 2022 (7 Topics)

Letting go of a chance to democratize telecom services


The draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 (Telecom Bill) is out for public consultation. In its present form, its provisions appear to be stuck in the past.

A Repackaging:

  • Missed Opportunities: The draft of the Bill represents multiple missed opportunities for significant legislative reform in terms of democratization of telecommunication services.
  • New licensing regime: The Telecom Bill has stricter regulations and moves towards centralization of power by introducing licenses for telecommunication services.

Threat to innovation, privacy protection

  • Same service, Same rules: Treating OTT services as a ‘substitute’ for Telecom services must not be treated the same because both have different functionalities. It will only increase compliance and legal costs leaving a negative impact on innovation.
  • Privacy Concerns: By exercising its exclusive privilege to issue a license, the central government may ask the online service providers to store data locally. This discretion to the government may adversely affect the privacy of individuals.
  • Blow to end-to-end encryption (E2EE): By expanding the definition of telecommunication services, coupled with interception provisions is signalling a blow to end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in India.
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