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Encryption policy would have affected emails, operating systems, WiFi

by Prasad Krishna last modified Sep 25, 2015 01:23 AM
Our email data would have to be stored. If we connect to a WiFi, that data would have to be stored, and that's plain ridiculous. There is a problem when the government tries to target citizens to ensure national security, said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society.

The article by Amrita Madhukalya was published in DNA on September 23, 2015.


The Draft National Policy on Encryption, withdrawn by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeiTY) after it created a furore on privacy issues, would have had allowed the government access to any form of digital data that required encryption. Not limited to just WhatsApp or Viber data, it would have affected email services, WiFi, phone operating systems, etc.

"Our email data would have to be stored. If we connect to a WiFi, that data would have to be stored, and that's plain ridiculous. There is a problem when the government tries to target citizens to ensure national security," said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society.

The government, criticised heavily for the policy, withdrew it on Tuesday afternoon. It said that a new policy will be brought in its place.

Nikhil Pahwa of internet watchdog Medianama said that data about normal day-to-day activities would have to be stored if the policy was implemented. "The policy would have affected everyday business to consumer data.
This would mean that if a doctor or lawyer had your data digitised, they will be open to access, and would have to be kept for at least 90 days," said Pahwa.

However, he added that a robust encryption is needed. "It is believed that companies like Google, Facebook allow the NSA to access user data in the US, putting our personal security, and the national security largely, at risk," said Pahwa.

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