According to the major reform proposals unveiled today, the European Union will subject internet service providers like WhatsApp and Skype to similar rules that traditional telecommunications firms have to face. In what is considered to be a major victory for traditional phone companies, the European Commission recommended more strict and tight privacy and security for services like Facebook-owned message service WhatsApp and Microsoft’s Skype. Proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the demand is part of a package of reforms, which includes a promise to provide free Wi-Fi in European towns by 2020. Also Read - WhatsApp tips: How to send message to an unknown number without saving itAlso Read - WhatsApp Status video download: How to secretly download someone's status video
The plan also includes a commitment to begin converting Europe to 5G networks as early as 2018 in order to not lose ground to Asia and the United States. The proposal gives companies that invest in 5G networks longer running licenses to operate mobile services as well as the right to block rivals except in under-served areas. “We propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centers of public life by 2020,” Juncker said as he gave his annual State of the Union speech.
“It’s a small revolution. It’s no longer historic operators on one side and new entrants on the other, it’s those investing in the future and the others,” said Gregoire Verdeaux, head of international policy at Vodafone. The demands on services such as Skype are unprecedented, but were underplayed by the commission. But under the proposal, the commission would require companies like WhatsApp or Skype to offer emergency-calling services when customers dial traditional phone numbers as well as obey stricter privacy rules. ALSO READ: Users private data hasn t been shared with Facebook, WhatsApp tells Delhi High Court
“The Commission should use this opportunity to reduce regulation in the hugely competitive market for communications services, rather than adding complexity,” said James Waterworth, of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a lobby group that represents Microsoft, Facebook and Google.