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Govt to withdraw controversial draft encryption policy after backlash

Draft to be reworked and put in the public domain for comments again

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Govt to withdraw controversial draft encryption policy after backlash

After a widespread outcry over some of the draconian proposals in its Draft Encryption Policy, the government on Tuesday said it has instructed the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to withdraw the controversial draft in its entirety.

A re-worded version, which will avoid certain expressions that are giving rise to "misgivings", will be placed in the public domain later for comments, IT Minister said Tuesday.

Prasad clarified that this was just a draft and not the viewpoint of the government, adding that the Narendra Modi government is all for activism on social media.

He said that various sorts of e-transactions are done between the government and companies, companies to companies, or companies to individuals. Only those who send their messages in the encrypted form will be covered by the proposed policy and not others, he clarified.

The draft policy has attracted flak from various quarters as it gave rise to fears that even private messages would be made available for scrutiny.

Earlier today, DeitY clarified that social media websites and applications will be exempted from the act.

A proposed addendum to the Encryption Policy said that mass-use encryption products, which are currently being used in web applications, social media sites and social media applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, would be exempt from the draft Encryption Policy.

ALSO READ: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter exempted from purview of National Encryption Policy

First Published: Tue, September 22 2015. 13:35 IST