Web Services Face More Protectionist Rules in Europe

By Victor Thomson , Aug 16, 2016 06:52 AM EDT

The European Commission is preparing to announce a review of its web protectionist rules later this yearT The said rule will include new measures forcing messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp and Skype to follow the same set of rules that telecom companies have to follow.

Changes Expected In EU's ePrivacy Law

The EU's ePrivacy law will be reviewed later this year with stricter telecom regulations. The U.S. web service companies will likely have to deal with it.

According to Forbes, phone companies around the world have resented the increased popularity of the messaging apps for years. Since none of them has been able to come up with their own good chat apps, the telecom companies have decided to channel their efforts into asking regulators to crack down on communications giants such as Viber, Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp.

Why EU Telecom Companies Are Cracking Down On Chat Apps

Because they run on top of the telecommunications infrastructure installed by telecom companies such as Vodafone, chat applications are called "over-the-top."  Telecommunication companies have long resented the ad revenues of Silicon Valley firms like Facebook, while not paying anything for access to infrastructure built by telcos.

According to CNET, US-based tech giants like Microsoft (owning Skype) and Facebook (owning WhatsApp) have traditionally escaped the European Commission's regulation of the telecommunication industry. They had more freedom in deciding what companies make money from their customer data or how to handle security agencies' requests. However, this might change soon.

In Europe, the older telecom companies may finally have their way later this year. The EU may force messaging apps in the future to follow new rules on confidentiality and security, according to internal documents seen by The Financial Times.

In case the new rules are indeed introduced, it will be the first time the law might regulate messaging apps in a similar way to voice calling and traditional text messaging. However, the European Commission explained that this will not automatically be the case.

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