Europe said to prep new rules for online communications services

Europe said to prep new rules for online communications services
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European Union regulators plan to propose more stringent privacy and security rules for services like Skype and WhatsApp, which use the internet rather than traditional networks to communicate, according to multiple reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a draft version of the proposal would include requirements for the services that are closer to what regulators expect from standard messaging and phone services. The rules would also reportedly make changes to how companies treat customer data, including when they are changing to a different service.

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The planned requirements for “over-the-top” services were first reported by the Financial Times. European telecommunication firms have reportedly been pushing for the regulations to be applied to web services if they are not removed altogether.

Tech companies stateside have repeatedly tussled with European regulators over the years, including on privacy and antitrust issues. Europeans have been particularly wary of data privacy at American tech firms ever since former national intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents showing how companies had worked with the government surveillance apparatus.

New broadcasting rules proposed in May require that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime feature a certain amount of European content in their catalogues.

The release of the policy paper containing the proposal, expected to come later this year, would not be the final step in cementing them in law. It won't contain final legislative text, according to The Guardian, and EU member states would still need to consider the rules.