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EU to expand telecoms privacy laws to cover Google, Whatsapp & Facebook

James Pearce
August 15, 2016

Report claims EU regulations dictating security and confidentiality will be extended to include OTT services

Whatsapp, Skype and Facebook could fall under new regulations dictating privacy and security, according to reports.

The Financial Times claims to have seen internal documents from Brussels that cover how Over-the-Top (OTT) services comply with requests from security agencies and how companies use customer data.

The overhaul is set to telecoms regulations are due to be released in September, and will see the OTT players come under provisions traditionally levelled at telecoms providers. The move has been supported by a number of providers including former EE-parent company Orange and O2-owner Telefonica.

The reforms will be part of a wider European Commission overhaul of the telecoms market aimed at bringing faster broadband speeds across Europe.

The FT claims services that let users dial a phone number online face being impacted by stringent EU rules on telecoms providers. This will allow local regulators, such as Ofcom, more say in the operations of the OTT players, which includes the likes of Google, Facebook and Skype (owned by Microsoft).

OTT services have grown exponentially since the smartphone boom began in 2007. At the end of 2015, more than 75 per cent of mobile users globally were using an OTT messaging service, according to eMarketer.

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