Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a revised policy will be placed in the public domain again after reworking some of the 'expressions' that gave rise to 'misgivings'. A draft encryption policy released yesterday wanted businesses, telcos and Internet companies to store all encrypted data for 90 days in plain text which should be presented before law enforcement agencies whenever asked. Failing to do so would mean legal action as per the law.

Following public backlash over such a move, which is being seen as a threat to privacy, the government through a new addendum this morning clarified that social media sites, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, payment gateways, e-commerce and password-based transactions are exempt from the policy.

Hours later, the government decided to withdraw the draft encryption policy. At a news conference to speak on the decisions taken by the Cabinet, Prasad told reporters that the draft National Encryption Policy, which had been released last evening, is not the final view of the government and was placed in the public domain just to seek comments and suggestions from people.

"I wish to make it very clear that it is just a draft and not the view of the government. But I have noted some of the concerns expressed by certain enlightened segments of the public. I have personally seen that some of the expressions used in the draft are giving rise to uncalled-for misgivings," he said.

"Therefore, I have written to DeitY to withdraw that draft, rework it properly and thereafter, put in the public domain for comments," the Union Minister added.

He stressed that common users would not come under the ambit of the encryption policy that will be framed. The new draft to be issued will clearly state which services and creators it would apply to and which ones will be exempt. 

 

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