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Event Announcement: App Bans and Network Fees, Delhi, 10th August #Ad

MediaNama invites you to apply to attend our discussion on ‘App Bans and Network Fees’, being held in Delhi on August 10, 2023. This discussion is based on the TRAI’s latest consultation paper on online communications bans, exploring commercial relationships between telecom operators and online apps and other net neutrality issues, as well as issues regarding authorisation (registration/licensing) of online communications apps. A summary of that paper is here.

While these are the points of consideration in the consultation paper, our discussion will go a little beyond the remit of the consultation paper, and consider consequences that recommendations can have on the rest of the Internet as well, including, for example, biometric authentication for users of communications apps.

Please apply to attend by filling the form here.

Date: Thursday, August 10, 2023
Time: 12:30 PM to 5:15 PM
Venue: The Lalit, New Delhi

Why are we doing this?

Our objective is to help you understand issues being considered in this consultation better, so that you can participate in the consultation with a better understanding of the issues under consideration. The TRAI consultation paper delves into a key issue of blocking online applications and the regulation of online communications applications.

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The consultation paper has been triggered by a reference from the Department of Telecommunications, which is itself working on the Telecom Bill, saying that when the TRAI recommended that OTT communications regulations do not need any further intervention, they did not provide any justification for this recommendation. In addition, the DoT has been directed by a Parliamentary Standing Committee to “come out with a policy which will enable the selective banning of OTT services with suitable technological intervention, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram services during periods of unrest/crisis that are liable to be used by terrorists or antinational element/forces to ferment trouble in the specified regions.”

The TRAI has also resurfaced an issue of a revenue share arrangements between Telecom Operators and online services, thus reopening the debate around differential pricing of Internet services, akin to a consultation currently being considered in Europe. In the consultation paper, the TRAI has sought clarity on:

  • Definition of messaging and calling apps, and a reasonable classification for these.
  • Distinction between telecom services and online messaging and calling apps, and the need for a licensing framework for these.
  • A “Collaborative framework” between these app providers and licensed telecom operators.
  • App specific banning of Internet access, and whether apps apart from messaging and calling services ought to be considered for banning.

What will we discuss? At this event, we aim to discuss, among other issues:

  • The proposals for approaches to banning of apps,
  • The mechanism and legality of creating a framework for making apps pay telecom operators for infrastructure
  • The proposal for carving out online messaging from the Internet.

We aim to address critical questions around selective banning as an alternative to internet shutdowns in response to public order situations and the implications of such measures on free speech rights, encryption and online privacy. The discussion will also explore the impact of TRAI’s recommendations on net neutrality, as we talk about competition and regulatory concerns arising of creating similar regulations for OTT communication service providers and licensed telecommunication service providers.

We will publish a detailed agenda for the conference over the next week, including the venue and speaker details.

In the meantime, block your calendars and don’t forget to apply to attend this invite-only discussion. Please feel free to suggest points of discussion and questions you think ought to be raised, in the application form.

Why you should attend

Here are 5 reasons why, if you’re in technology/policy, you must consider attending MediaNama discussions, especially the physical, in-person formats:

  1. Share your point of view and get instant feedback: At MediaNama discussions you get to share your point of view, instead of being talked to by a panel: over 60% of a MediaNama discussion is interactive and focused on debating issues with the participants in the roomful of an audience curated for relevance.
  2. Meet others working on the same subject: we have dedicated networking time at MediaNama discussions, where you can meet and engage with others working on the same subject, and get a sense of what’s happening behind the scenes.
  3. Hear a point you hadn’t considered: We curate our participants for a diversity of perspectives, with people working on the same issue, but coming from a different background: hear not just from policy wonks, but also technologists, founders, people working with lawmakers, among others. There’s always another way of looking at something.
  4. Outcome focused: At the end of each session, one of the key questions we consider is a wish list: what should change, why and how?
  5. Breadth and depth of understanding: At MediaNama we are focused on providing our readers and attendees with both the depth and breadth of understanding of technology policy. We work hard to determine the probing questions that lend themselves to a deeper understanding of issues, discuss principles, and bring out perspectives that you might not have considered. You can ask questions too. Sometimes the questions are more important than an answer.

  • Registration does not guarantee attendance. In case you fit our mandate for the intended audience, we’ll send you a confirmation before August 8, 2023.
  • MediaNama’s subscribers, get guaranteed access to all our events. You can subscribe to MediaNama to support our work.
  • Your contact information will never be shared with anyone outside of MediaNama.

This is an advertisement for MediaNama’s event. MediaNama’s Native Advertising policy can be seen here, and past ads here.

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