Home Technology WhatsApp Controversy: Government disapproves messages on being stored

WhatsApp Controversy: Government disapproves messages on being stored

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The government had earlier taken up a major controversy on an issue proposing that every person in the country should keep an evidence of all their messages which include the emails and chats, for 3 months and should be able to provide them when the security agencies demanded them, which was under the Draft National Encryption Policy. But with strict opposition in the form of public uproar over their privacy, the government on Tuesday withdrew the policy.

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Under Section 84 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 the policy was proposed, which came through an amendment in 2008. The Sub-Section 84 C carried provisions of imprisonment for any violation of the Act, also came into act at the same time. Later, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he felt the draft had some provisions that would give rise to misgivings. Thus he felt that it needed to be withdrawn and reposted with proper rework in public. The policy was issued for all messaging, email services and ecommerce websites like the Whatsapp, WeChat, Gmail and Yahoo Mail where each of them uses some form of encryption. The policy was proposed mainly to make the plain formatted text available on demand to security agencies which provoked the opposition as it was a threat to privacy concerns.

All these services and websites use a high-level of encryption which the security agencies are unable to decrypt and get useful information. The draft that was issued by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, was applicable to everyone that include government departments, academic institutions, citizens, may it be official or personal. The information to be stored were subdivided in B and C category and to be made available to Law Enforcement Agencies. The “B category” had the likes of all the organizations, business and commercial establishments (PSUs, academic institutions). Whereas the “C category” belonged to the citizens of India from a high ranked business personnel or a Government employee to the common man.