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Govt exempts WhatsApp, social media from purview of New Encryption Policy

New Delhi: Following the growing public outrage over the mandatory storing of messages on social media platforms, the Modi government on Monday issued clarification that social media websites like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and applications will
India TV News Desk September 22, 2015 19:56 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Following the growing public outrage over the mandatory storing of messages on social media platforms, the Modi government on Monday issued clarification that social media websites like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and applications will be exempted from the purview of the Encryption Policy.

The latest development came shortly after a controversy erupted over government's proposal to make storage of all encrypted messages, including SMSes and emails, sent from any mobile device or computer mandatory for 90 days under the New Encryption Policy.

Also, banking transactions as well as password protected e-commerce businesses will be exempted from the purview of this policy.

The draft of New Encryption Policy proposes that users of encrypted messaging service on demand should reproduce same text, transacted during a communication, in plain format before law enforcement agencies and failing to do so may lead to imprisonment of the user as per the provisions.

Also Read: Encryption Policy proposal: Save WhatsApp messages for 90 days

The proposed policy, issued by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, would apply on everyone including government departments, academic institutions, citizens and for all kind of communications -- be it official or personal.

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 has 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.

Besides this all service providers located within and outside India that use encryption technology for providing any type of services in India must register themselves with the government, as per the draft.