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What are the Global Network Initiative’s concerns over the Draft Telecom Bill, 2022?

GNI flags issues in the bill with “significant negative and avoidable consequences”, such as surveillance, regulatory independence, more

“The unprecedented expansion of licensing requirements for ICT (Information and Communication technology) companies, the stripping of power from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the lack of safeguards regarding network disruption, and surveillance authorities are all aspects that we believe could have significant negative and avoidable consequences,” read the submission by the Global Network Initiative (GNI) on the Draft Telecom Bill, 2022. The body warned that the bill’s promulgation into a law will undermine Indian government’s international commitment to and reputation for upholding freedom of expression and privacy online. It urged the state to revise the bill and undertake consultation with academia, civil society, and potentially impacted companies. What is GNI: It is a multi-stakeholder initiative which includes more than 85 prominent academics, civil society organisations, ICT companies, and investors from around the world. The initiative boasts of members like Google, Cloudflare, Meta, Microsoft, Change.org, Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), Freedom House, among others. Why it matters: The submissions on the Draft Telecom Bill, 2022, are important as they provide an insight into the perspectives of various stakeholders on the bill. It is important to examine their perspectives given the impact of the bill on the information and communication ecosystem of the country. What are the recommendations by the GNI? Reconsider the unprecedented expansion of government authorities to set licensing and registration requirements for a broad array of ICT companies; Reaffirm Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) role in providing independent oversight and expertise on related matters; Clarify and narrow the provisions for…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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