The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) is seeking to regulate over the top services (OTTS) such as Whatsapp and Skype in a move that could coerce the service providers to share data with the government.
The regulator is seeking to govern aspects of the OTTS just like it does with other forms of telecom services such as calls and short messages because they believe such platforms only face light regulations.
According to the Communications Authority, the move is warranted by the fact that OTTS can garner data on their subscribers even though their base of operations is not within the country. As such, the telecoms regulator is looking for a consultant who will study the OTTS services to determine how they can be regulated.
Once the OTTS are scrutinized, the CA will read through the recommendations and discern how they can be implemented within the current regulations.
According to a Local Daily, if implemented, the new laws will determine how OTTS services will meet any terms directed by security agencies such as courts of law when they are requested to submit data.
The development comes as telecoms regulators from all over the world endeavor to introduce regulatory policies, similar to those applied to calls and SMS’, to check OTTS services that are widely used in the communications sector.
In Kenya for example, data from the CA attests that OTTS services have grown quite popular in the region. The regulator estimates that approximately 10 million mobile service subscribers use Whatsapp in a month. Similarly, subsequent data shows a decrease in the number of short messages sent by subscribers as they prefer the OTTS platforms.
Social Media Firm Facebook currently runs Whatsapp while Skype is under the control of tech giant Microsoft.