After a series of protests and allegations on the government for drafting a blatantly ridiculous “Data Encryption Policy”, the Indian Government has asked DeiTY to with draw the current draft and rework it to present a new one in coming months.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reports in a hastened up briefing,
I wish to make it very clear that is a just a draft, not the view of the government. The purport of this Encryption Policy relates only to those who encrypt, not to ordinary consumers.
Just to brief you up on the sheer ridiculousness of the clauses put up in the policy, there was one clause which could have bound you to store a minimum of 90 days of chat history on all of your lovely messenger services, including WhatsApp, Fb Messenger and others.
The draft encryption policy which was put in public domain earlier this week, had faced a massive backlash from online activists and other netizens for its vague language.
Prasad further added,
I have personally seen that some of the expressions used in the draft are giving rise to uncalled for misgivings. Therefore I have directed DeitY to withdraw the draft, rework it properly and thereafter put in public domain seeking comments.
While personal privacy was already at the verge of being violated through the policy, it could have been a big hurdle for India’s startup ecosystem and enterprises trying to grow, that too ironically at a time when Mr. Modi is set to visit Silicon Valley to pitch in India Inc and leverage tech from there.
ET reports, the policy forced online businesses to apparently keep a plain text copy of all the data encrypted for storage and communication, for 90 days, and make it available to law enforcement agencies “as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country”.