EU targets WhatsApp and Skype with tougher privacy rules

Clampdown aimed at increasing user privacy

WhatsApp, Web app, Messaging

The EU is looking to extend privacy rules to cover messages and calls made over the internet. This could see greater scrutiny over services such as WhatsApp and Skype.

The European Commission is looking to tighten legislation concerning messaging apps as part of an overhaul of telecoms industry laws. This is despite an open letter by the GSMA asking Europe to scrap the e-Privacy directive.

According to a Reuters report, the Commission is looking to go the other way and extend the directive to providers such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

According to another report, this time by the FT, internal EC documents revealed the supranational body is preparing to issue proposals for the regulation of services provided by the likes of Facebook and Microsoft. The proposals will also include regulation of online services that enable users to dial fixed and mobile phone numbers.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

A submission to the Commission from Orange said that unlike telco, "OTT (web-based) are global players that are allowed to commercially exploit the traffic data and the location data they collect".

European telcos have been calling for such changes for years.

Nathalie Vandystadt, spokesperson for the Digital Single Market at the European Commission, said in a statement that the Commission was working on an update of EU telecoms rules under its Digital Single Market strategy.

"The upcoming reform of the EU telecoms framework should incentivise and leverage more private investment in next generation networks, provide regulatory predictability and the right conditions for all operators to invest," she said.

She added that the Commission is looking into to what extent people can consider OTT services like WhatsApp and Skype to be functional substitutes for services provided by traditional telecoms operators.

Vandystadt said there were moves to increase the scope of current EU rules to "ensure adequate levels of consumer protection and ensure that regulation does not distort competition. This does not necessarily mean treating all communications services the same for all purposes."

Advertisement - Article continues below

The telecoms rules overhaul is due to be published in September.

Featured Resources

How inkjet can transform your business

Get more out of your business by investing in the right printing technology

Download now

Journey to a modern workplace with Office 365: which tools and when?

A guide to how Office 365 builds a modern workplace

Download now

Modernise and transform your sales organisation

Learn how a modernised sales process can drive your business

Download now

Your guide to managing cloud transformation risk

Realise the benefits. Mitigate the risks

Download now

Most Popular

cloud computing

Google Cloud snaps up multi-cloud analytics platform for $2.6bn

13 Feb 2020

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
operating systems

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

12 Feb 2020
cyber attacks

Apple Mac malware detections overtake Windows for the first time

11 Feb 2020