Members of the parliamentary panel on IT on Friday expressed concerns about some provisions of the new draft telecoms law and asked for details from the Ministry of Telecoms on how the law will ensure data security and privacy, sources said.
The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Information and Technology, chaired by Shiv Sena MP Prataprao Jadhav, met here for the first time after it was reconstituted and deliberated on the draft telecom law — which was circulated last month for comment from stakeholders.
Top officials from the Ministry of Telecoms attended the meeting and MPs across party lines raised questions about data security and the privacy provisions in the proposed legislation and asked for written response from the ministry, sources said.
Some MPs also questioned the future role of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as the bill’s provisions could reduce the regulator’s powers, sources said.
A few members suggested that the bill gives the government overarching powers under the guise of “national security”, but without an adequate oversight mechanism.
Some members indicated that the definition of Over The Top (OTT) communication apps was not very clear, they said.
Some members wanted to know about possible health risks when a large number of telecom towers for 5G and other services are coming up. They stressed the need for adequate safeguards to address potential health and environmental risks, sources added.
Senior Department of Telecommunication (DoT) officials who attended the meeting noted the issues and said they would come back with comprehensive answers, according to sources.
In the draft bill, the telecom department has also suggested a provision for reimbursement of fees if a telecom or internet provider surrenders its license.
Meanwhile, telecom service providers are pushing to bring OTT apps under regulation. They argue that apps that offer similar services such as Whatsapp, Signal and other similar apps used for calling and messaging should be subject to the same licensing terms as telcos, ensuring a level playing field for all technologies.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)