Skype to face EU privacy rules along with WhatsApp

Skype to face EU privacy rules along with WhatsApp


The EU plans to include Internet calls and messages in their plans of extending many privacy rules on online content. This means that apps like Skype or WhatsApp will have to obey some drastic regulations. Telecom and tech companies asked the EU to get rid of the e-privacy directive, a clause found in the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications.

Companies have complained that they as telecom operators are not allowed to keep location and traffic data, while web competitors (Microsoft, Google and Facebook) are taking advantage from this and making profit out of it. As such, quitting the rules would mean encouraging growth and innovation, as well as more opportunities from a social point of view, as GSM Association declared.

However, the EU plans to put everybody under the same regulations. Financial Times, a UK-based newspaper, published some information about EU’s decision to bring the American companies that lead in this sector under the same legislation.

Many people are debating whether this move will benefit users’ privacy or not. Many internet companies are already offering end-to-end encryption for messages and calls, which is a great way of maintaining communication privacy.

WhatsApp is one of the apps that a few months ago offered this type of encryption to its users. Facebook, who owns WhatsApp, declared as a response to the European Commission’s decision to open public consultation that including online messaging in the legislation will actually mean that they can’t guarantee any confidentiality or security of the content through the above-mentioned encryption.

Under the new rules, governments will be able to restrict confidentiality by invoking national security reasons. However, the commission should make an initial statement in September and only after that they would have to present some plans for a review in legislation until the end of this year.


  1. Why did the industry need to call IP based transmission OTT?

    Seriously that confused me for about 6 months after I first came across it, as reading the wikipedia entry left me none the wiser.

  2. OTT used to mean multiple services at the same time, for example you watch “Britains got nothing to do on a Saturday night” and you can follow along on your iPad and get extra “Over the top” services like voting and more info on each person and all that other wonderful stuff.

    If it now just means anything that is “over the top” of a telco cable, its pretty broad and we kinda had a name for that already; the internet (not just the www).

  3. Regardless of semantics, this is good news however you look at it… well, except, perhaps, if you’re peering over from Maryland 😉

    Post Brexit, the world’s a better place without us in the EU.

  4. … benefit consumers, by giving them a “consistent and meaningful set of rules”

    Their plan is for the rule to be “There is no privacy”. It’s certainly consistent and meaningful.