Draft Encryption Policy Withdrawn: 10 Reasons

Coming under tremendous public ire, the Indian government has already withdrawn its draft proposal that required users to share all the information they shared over online exchanges. If the proposal had seen the light of the day, it would have radically altered how people use social media, communication services like WhatsApp and Hike. Find out a 10-point cheatsheet to this huge story below:

I. IT Minister of India Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the earlier proposed National Encryption Policy was released to people for feedback without his knowledge. He also accepted that it was not done properly and that it is being reworked.

II. He also assured that any new rules would not hamper the lives of common people in any way and that the government is well aware of its duty to protect and promote freedom of the social media.

III. The draft proposal wanted apps and platforms to register with the government, the kind of encryption service they use or sign-up, and to use only those encryption services that are approved by the government.

IV. It must be noted that when a message is sent via services like WhatsApp, it gets automatically coded/scrambled and then decoded for the addressee.

V. The draft proposal wanted all users and businesses to save their communications through messages for 90 days and provide those to the government if demanded.

VI. After NDTV broadcast this news on Monday, a clarification note was issued by the government informing that the new National Encryption Policy would not regulate social media in any way.

VII. The new rules to unscramble data would not be applicable to e-commerce and Internet banking.

VIII. Experts even flagged the draft proposal saying the language was loose and could not be applicable for apps and message communication services.

IX. Some aspects of the proposal also suggested that services that do not register their method of message encryption with the government would be declared illegal in India.

X. In 2010, the UPA government had declared a ban BBM if BlackBerry did not give Indian security agencies access to snoop on their emails. Eventually, both of them came to an agreement that would let the government to intercept communications made on BlackBerry’s platform through emails or messages.

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