oppn parties Draft National Encryption Policy: Ill-advised and Stupid

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Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Draft National Encryption Policy: Ill-advised and Stupid

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It must be a first when a confused government issues a draft policy and takes it back within 48 hours. The National Encryption Policy was an ill-advised document, perhaps drafted by technologically deficient bureaucrats. It was designed to intrude upon the privacy of common people in a dictatorial manner. It is almost impossible for people to store all messages and mails on their digital devices for ninety days. There are several reasons for this, but suffice it to say that it is the personal wish of the person on what messages he wants to store and what to delete.

The Modi government has been very pro-active in trying to curb privacy. In fact, despite previous governments having put draft Right to Privacy Bills in public domain, the Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court to define the contours of such a right. Hence, it is not surprising that the government came up with such a policy.

But as citizens have become increasingly aware of what constitutes an intrusion upon their privacy, the government will not be able to force such stupid legislations down their throat. Apart from civil groups that are ever vigilant in this regard, common citizen also take to social media in large numbers and denounce any such moves by the government.

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while withdrawing the draft policy, said that some "expressions" in the policy had raised misgivings. Sorry Sir, it is not the expressions but the attitude of the government that has caused misgivings. Why is the government bent on playing big brother? Why does it want to anyhow get a peek into what its ordinary citizens are doing?

If the government is concerned about national security and wishes to curb the ease of communication digital devices offer to terrorists, it will have to rack its brain on how to do this. Such a blanket restrictive policy will not work. One thing is sure - it will have to take expert advice. Its bureaucrats are not knowledgeable enough and will always come up with policies that will leave egg on the government's face.