Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association provided input with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding its consultation paper on “Regulatory Mechanism for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services, and Selective Banning of OTT Services.”
TRAI is seeking input on whether changes are needed to the existing regulatory framework for OTT services in India and detailing options to extend regulations to a broader range of digital and communications services. CCIA comments discuss why the notion of specialized OTT regulatory frameworks are flawed, and how the proposals to craft new mechanisms for government officials to block specific services are not only technically infeasible, but pose significant threats to internet freedom.
This follows a broader initiative by the Government of India to overhaul its digital governance frameworks. CCIA filed comments with TRAI earlier this year on similar themes of regulatory convergence, and also provided comments with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regarding the Draft Telecom Bill, 2022.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for tech policy that advances innovation for over 50 years.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President of Digital Trade Jonathan McHale:
“In the midst of the expected rapidly changing policy landscape for digital services in India, it is inappropriate for TRAI to pursue a specified regulatory framework for over-the-top services. Governance of this broad range of internet-enabled services can be addressed without introducing a new and confusing jurisdiction framework that would likely duplicate existing measures. Further, the discussions on potential tools to block certain services at the behest of government entities with little oversight poses serious concerns to internet freedom, privacy, and security in India.”