Published On: Mon, Sep 21st, 2015

New National Encryption Policy could give the government access to your whatsapp, gmail messages

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The government of India is considering a policy that requires businesses and users like you to save messages, and hand them over, if asked. The Government will have access to all encrypted information, including personal emails, messages or even data stored on a private business server.

When you send a WhatsApp message, it’s automatically encrypted or turned into scrambled text, which is then unscrambled for the person you’re messaging.

In the case of WhatsApp and other services like Apple’s iMessage, this encryption happens automatically using keys at both ends of the conversation – as a user, you don’t need to do anything.

The government is working on a new National Encryption Policy which has alarmed experts.  The proposal from a department of the IT Ministry states this: “Service Providers located within and outside India, using encryption technology for providing any type of services in India must enter into an agreement with the Government for providing such services in India.”

The draft was formulated by an expert group set up by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) under Section 84A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Since every messaging service and email, including Whatsapp and Gmail, use some form of encryption, this draft would cover almost all instant messages and emails.

The policy also talks about the government deciding what kind of encryption products business and citizens are allowed to use, which could make your favourite application illegal if it’s using some other form of encryption.

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