Social media platforms and web applications fall outside the scope of the policy
GN Bureau | September 22, 2015
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 I have asked for the draft policy to be withdrawn and reworded,” Prasad admitted.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”.
An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and gr
Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book publis
The question of reform of the civil services has been debated extensively at all levels at least over the last five to six decades after independence. Indeed, it was soon perceived that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) may not be well equipped to deal with the problems of an emerging developing coun
Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into existence, based on a Resolution of the home ministry, dated April 1, 1963 – a sheer coincidence that it also happens to be April Fool’s day. Over the past few months, we have seen the CBI live up to its founding day with great zeal, being i
Gujarat was passing through a turbulent phase in the 1980s. The decade began middle class agitations against new reservation policies, and the caste friction turned communal under the watch of chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, alienating majority of urban population on both counts. The ground was ripe for