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Communications Authority Seeks to Regulate OTTS

Author 3 years ago

By Moses Adongo

Owners of internet-based service providers like WhatsApp and Skype could soon be forced to data to the Kenyan government after the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) sought to regulate the platform.

CA is currently searching for consultancy farm to study and determine, through recommendations, how over- the- top services (OTTS) could be regulated. OTTS are platforms used by companies like the US base Facebook and Microsoft that run WhatsApp and Skype respectively.

Unlike it did with calls and phone messages, the regulator has been unable to control the OTTS given that the providers, who can access their subscribers’ data, are not stationed in Kenya.

CA is hoping to establish a law that will require owners of WhatsApp and Skype to abide by its security and confidentiality provisions. The regulations will also determine how the authority will access the needed information from these providers when ordered by the judiciary.

The regulation of OTTS has remained a grey issue not only in the country but across the world. There has, however, been a growing call particularly in Europe, to have the system regulated just like traditional text messaging and voice calling.

The growing concern is as a result of a feeling of unfairness in which American companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft enjoy loose regulations for their products.

With the increased uptake of WhatsApp, that allows users to deliver calls and messages over the internet, different nations have recorded a drop in the number of traditionally sent messages per month per subscriber. The telcos have as a result filed low returns from what has been their primary source of revenue.

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