EU ‘to expand privacy laws to OTT providers’, says report

Europe’s security and confidentiality laws will be expanded from traditional telecoms companies to over-the-top (OTT) operators such as Google, Skype and Facebook.

The Financial Times says it has seen internal documents from the European Commission, the executive body of the 28-national European Union (EU) that will cover how services such as WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – comply with security requests and how they profit from user information.

“Commission officials argue that OTT services, which let users deliver calls and messages via the internet, should be regulated in a similar way to the services they have rapidly replaced, including SMS text messaging and traditional voice calling,” says the FT.

The newspaper says that the new rules are likely to be announced in September, followed by a more detailed definition later in the year, as part of the EU’s tightening up of electronic privacy laws.

Many traditional telecoms operators have complained that largely US-based OTT providers have not been subject to the same rules as they are.

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