Digital storm forces govt to withdraw encryption policy draft

Social media platforms and web applications fall outside the scope of the policy

GN Bureau | September 22, 2015


#digital india   #social media   #whatsapp   #twitter  

A storm of digital protests woke up the government. The users objected to stringent state controls on the use of email, social media accounts and apps and bowing to pressure from the public, the government on Tuesday withdrew the draft National Encryption Policy. It sought to control secured online communication, including through mass-use social media and web applications such as WhatsApp and Twitter.

Social media users called the draft “draconian” and “delusional”.

Communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the government’s decision at a news conference after a cabinet meeting, saying the draft policy will be reviewed before it is again presented to the public for their suggestions. Earlier, the last date to comment on the draft was October 16.

“I read the draft. I understand that the manner in which it is written can lead to misconceptions. I have asked for the draft policy to be withdrawn and reworded,” Prasad admitted.

However, he tried to shift the blame of the fiasco. “Experts had framed a draft policy...This draft policy is not the government’s final view,” he said. “There were concerns in some quarters. There were some words (in the draft policy) that caused concern.”

The draft will be reviewed and experts will be asked to specify to whom the policy will be applicable, Prasad said. He did not say when the new draft will be made public.

Those using social media platforms and web applications fell outside the scope of an encryption policy, Prasad said.

Several countries have felt the need for an encryption policy because of the boom in e-commerce and e-governance, he remarked. “Cyber space interactions are on the rise. There are concerns about security. We need a sound encryption policy,” he said.

The government had issued an addendum early on Tuesday to keep social media and web applications like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook out of its purview. Secure banking transactions and password protected e-commerce businesses too will be kept out of the ambit of the proposed policy, the addendum said.

The climb down by the government came following a storm of protests from users who objected to any stringent state controls on the use of email, social media accounts and apps.

According to the original draft, users of apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat would be required to save all messages for up to 90 days and be able to produce them if asked by authorities.

If implemented in its current form it could compromise the privacy of users and hamper the functioning of several multi-national service providers in India.

Pranesh Prakash, policy director for The Centre for Internet and Society, tweeted that even the addendum “does not clarify anything, but further muddles the encryption policy”.

Comments

 

Other News

Rs 1,514 crore already spent on cleaning Yamuna

 The major reason for high level of pollution in river Yamuna is inadequate flow due to over extraction of surface and ground water and discharge of untreated effluent, union minister Vijay Goel informed the Lok Sabha on Monday. He said the water resources ministry is supplementing the effor

No central government scheme to run endlessly

 Centrally sponsored schemes will now onwards run for a fixed period of time, thanks to a sunset date. An outcome review will also be carried out.   In public policy, a sunset clause means that it shall cease to have effect after a specific date, unless further legislative/a

What India needs to do to finally become a superpower

For the past 25 years, India has been rising in stature. It is continually called an upcoming superpower but has been unable to reach the promised status. India’s importance in the world is more due to its immense population and potential as a market than any objective assessment of development. Indi

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Yogi in politics, TN industries shift base and, how to end the Maharaja’s misery

Everyone in Yogi Adityanath`s office declares that Yogi’s political career is founded on the work carried out from there, first when he was mahant of the influential temple, and then as an MP. Vijendra Singh, who works at the office, says “It’s because of these letters that Yogiji has n

A fifth of Rs 29 lakh crore are NPAs

Banks have advanced a staggering Rs 29,46,060 crore to the industrial sector, of which Rs 6.93 lakh crore are non-performing assets (NPAs).   Finance minister Arun Jaitley informed





Video

कश्मीर पर तीसरे पक्ष की मध्यस्थता स्वीकार नहीं - महबूबा

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter