The government on Tuesday clarified that it is withdrawing the draft of the National Encryption Policy and will rework it, so as to not impact individual users and protect and promote freedom of social media.
“There are two issues one is the creation of encryption. Many companies send messages in an encrypted form. Other is those who are the consumer of applications like Whatsapp. The purport of this encryption policy relates to only those who encrypt. As far as, ordinary citizens of applications are concerned they do not fall in this domain, because those who encrypt for a variety of reasons there has to be a policy to regulate their manner of encryption,” Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference.
“Therefore I have told to withdraw the draft (National Encryption Policy) immediately and revert it properly, giving due regard to larger freedom to social media,” Prasad added.
According to the current draft of the encryption policy, the government would have access to all encrypted information, including personal emails, messages or even data stored on a private business server.
The policy also wanted users to store all encrypted communication for at least 90 days and make it available to security agencies, if required, in text form.
Earlier in the day, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology had said that social media websites and applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter will be exempted from the purview of the National Encryption Policy.