Government exempts social media from Encryption Policy

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NEW DELHI
A day after witnessing huge protest against its Encryption Policy which triggered privacy concerns, the government has decided to exempt WhatsApp and social media sites from it.
The proposed policy, issued by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, would apply to everyone including government departments, academic institutions and citizens.
According to the policy proposal, every message that you send be it through WhatsApp, SMS, Email or any such service must be mandatorily stored in plain text format for 90 days and made available on demand to security agencies under the New Encryption Policy.
The draft proposes that users of encrypted messaging service on demand should reproduce same text, transacted during a COMMUNICATION, in plain format before law enforcement agencies, failing which the government can take legal action as per the laws of the country.
Generally, all the modern messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Google Chat, Yahoo messenger etc, come with high level of encryption and many a time security agencies find it hard to intercept these messages.
“All information shall be stored by the concerned B/C entity for 90 days from the date of transaction and made available to Law Enforcement Agencies as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country,” the draft said.
The draft has defined ‘B category’ as all statutory organizations, executive bodies, business and commercial establishments, including all Public Sector Undertakings, Academic institutions.
The ‘C category’ as per the draft are all citizens including personnel of government and business performing non-official or personal functions.
In case of the user having communicated with foreigner or entity abroad then the primary responsibility of providing readable plain text along with the corresponding encrypted information would be that of the user in the country.
“Encryption products may be exported but with prior intimation to the designated agency of Government of India. Users in India are allowed to use only the products registered in India. Government reserves the right to take appropriate action as per Law of the country for any violation of this Policy,” the draft said.

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