After controversy over new encryption policy, government withdraws draft proposal

New Delhi(ANI): After a huge uproar on social media on Monday evening, when people first got the whiff of the new encryption policy draft, the government on Tuesday said that he has directed officials to withdraw draft National Encryption Policy as it is not the final view of the government.

After encryption controversy, government withdraws draft proposal

Late Monday night, the government had under pressure issued a clarification that the encryption policy will not apply to social media messages, e-commerce transactions and banking.

Addressing media, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “I have written for that draft to be withdrawn, made changes to and then re-released.”

Prasad further added, “Our Government supports the freedom of social media. We are proud of the steps taken by our government to promote it. I want to make it clear that what was released yesterday was just a draft and not the view of the government.”

Stating that cyber space interaction is on the rise, he said, “Concern of security is there. We need a sound encryption policy.”

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Earlier, the draft of New Encryption Policy proposed that users of encrypted messaging service on demand should reproduce same text, transacted during a communication, in plain format before law enforcement agencies and failing to do so may lead to imprisonment of the user as per the provisions.

“All information shall be stored by the concerned B/C entity for 90 days from the date of transaction and made available to Law Enforcement Agencies as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country,” the draft said.

The draft had defined ‘B category’ as all statutory organizations, executive bodies, business and commercial establishments, including all Public Sector Undertakings, Academic institutions.

The ‘C category’ as per the draft are all citizens including personnel of government and business performing non-official or personal functions.

In case of the user has communicated with foreigner or entity abroad then the primary responsibility of providing readable plain text along with the corresponding encrypted information would be that of the user in the country.

Besides this all service providers located within and outside India that use encryption technology for providing any type of services in India must register.

Cyber expert Virag Gupta alleged that the government’s draft National Encryption Policy reflects the failure of the government and is meddling with the private matters of people.

“This draft policy reflects the failure of the government and the industry. Government failure is that they are still insisting for the technology which is now outdated,” Gupta told ANI.