Encryption policy shelved after outcry

Wed 23 Sep 2015, 13:03:37
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday withdrew the controversial draft encryption policy that sought to make it mandatory for all to store mobile, internet and social media messages for 90 days and hand it over to law enforcement agencies when asked.

Following public uproar, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a revised policy would be placed in the public domain after reworking some of the “expressions” that gave rise to “misgivings”.

At a post-Cabinet press briefing, Prasad said the draft National Encryption Policy was not the government’s final view, and was placed in the public domain just to seek people’s comments and suggestions.

“I wish to make it very clear that it is just a draft and not the view of the government. But I have noted some of the concerns expressed by certain

enlightened segments of the public. I have personally seen that some of the expressions used in the draft are giving rise to uncalled-for misgivings,” he said.

“Therefore, I have written to DeitY (Department of Electronics and IT) to withdraw that draft, rework it properly and thereafter, put in the public domain for comments.” he said.

The Minister stressed that common users would not come under the ambit of the encryption policy.

The new draft will clearly state which services and creators it would apply to and which ones will be exempt.

However, hours later, the government decided to withdraw the entire draft encryption policy. The minister, also said there is a need for an encryption policy which would apply to those who are involved in encrypting a messaging product “for a variety of reasons”.

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