Govt proposes law to intercept encrypted messages on WhatsApp and Signal


According to the new draft telecommunications bill uploaded late on Wednesday, the government has proposed a law to bring under a legal framework the interception of over-the-top communication services (OTT), such as WhatsApp and Signal which are encrypted.According to definitions in the bill, telecommunication services means, service of any description (including broadcasting services, electronic mail, voice mail, voice, video and data communication services, audiotex services, videotex services, fixed and mobile services, internet and broadband services, satellite-based communication services.It also includes internet-based communication services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, interpersonal communications services, machine to machine communication services, over-the-top (OTT) communication services) which is made available to users by telecommunication.The government can add any other service that the central government may notify to be telecommunication services. It has sought public feedback on the draft.The interception will also cover voice and video calls made over such applications, as the government defines messages to include “data stream or intelligence or information intended for telecommunication”.