Bowing to public pressure, govt withdraws draft encryption policy

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Bowing to pressure from the public, the government on Tuesday withdrew a draft policy that sought to control secured online communication, including through mass-use social media and web applications such as WhatsApp and Twitter.

Communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the government’s decision at a news conference, saying the draft National Encryption Policy will be reviewed before it is again presented to the public for their suggestions.

“I read the draft. I understand that the manner in which it is written can lead to misconceptions. I have asked for the draft policy to be withdrawn and reworded,” Prasad said. He said the draft would be re-released, but did not say when it would be made public.

“Experts had framed a draft policy…This draft policy is not the government’s final view,” he added. “There were concerns in some quarters. There were some words (in the draft policy) that caused concern.”

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