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Govt to withdraw draft encryption policy


Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Tuesday said the government was withdrawing the draft encryption policy that proposed saving of all digital communications for a period of 90 days. Noting that the draft encryption policy was "not the final view of the government," Mr. Prasad said, the purpose of encryption was not related to social media messaging platform used by common man. "Draft encryption policy will be redrawn to specify who it will apply to," Mr. Prasad said at a press conference.

Earlier report from Yuthika Bhargava:
After huge public outrage, the IT department proposed an addendum to the draft policy exempting social media applications such as WhatsApp, Twitter. The proposed addendum to the draft encryption policy clarifies that ‘encryption products’ that have been exempted from the policy include "The mass use encryption products, which are currently being used in web applications, social media sites, and social media applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook,Twitter etc." The government had kicked off a controversy by proposing that every citizen should keep a copy of all their communications in the cyber space, including emails and chats, for a period of 90 days and be able to make it available to security agencies when demanded, under the Draft National Encryption Policy. According to the proposed policy, citizens as well as business may use encryption technology for storage of data and communication. However, all citizens “are required to store the plaintexts of the corresponding encrypted information for 90 days” and provide verifiable plain text to law enforcement agencies as and when required. The government has invited public feedback and comments on these guidelines till October 16. The draft was formed by an ‘expert group’ set up by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.