The controversial draft encryption policy that has since been withdrawn gave a handle to the opposition yesterday to attack the Modi government with Congress saying its intent stands “exposed” and CPI-M dubbing it as ‘Gujarat Snooping Model’. Also Read - OnePlus Nord 2 is a rebranded version of Realme X9 Pro, launch next month: ReportAlso Read - Battlegrounds Mobile India new teaser released: It reveals launch date is getting closer
As the policy sparked an outrage, the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) said it was a tool for “snooping” and reflected the government’s “totalitarian inclination.”Alleging that ‘subjugation of individual freedom’, ‘surveillance of the citizen’ and ‘suppression of the dissent’ have emerged as the ‘DNA’ of the government, the Congress charged that in the last 16 months it has made systematic sinister attempts to quash dissent and undermine individual liberty. Also Read - E3 2021 Ubisoft Forward: Far Cry 6, Just Dance 2022, Watch Dogs: Legion Bloodline and more
Congress’ chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the NDA government’s “hasty retreat” on the contentious policy re-established the strength of ‘democratic dissent’ over “tuglaki farmans”(diktats) and called for united efforts to repulse any move to subjugate individual liberty “again through the backdoor”. “Like in the case of net neutrality, massive public outrage over encryption policy has made the government take a u-turn momentarily. Intent of the government, however, stands exposed.”
Surjewala alleged that the ‘Draft Policy on Encryption’ of Department of Electronic and Information Technology first circulated, then amended and now withdrawn with a rider for re-issuing it, is “a totalitarian, misconceived and a failed attempt of Modi government”. With 24.31 crore ‘Internet Users’ in India at the end of 2014 (17.30 crore being mobile Internet users), 11.20 crore ‘Facebook Users’, over 8 crore ‘Whatsapp Users’, 2.20 crore ‘Twitter Users’ and over 95 crore mobile connections, he said the “intrusion of individual liberty is fraught with dangerous dimensions”.
Separately, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted, “Encryption Policy is a Snooping& spying Orgy After Net Chats govt may want u to keep a video record of what u do in your bedroom for 90 days.” Tewari later described the Modi government as the fascist one. “Only a fascist government can bring such policy.” AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said the draft policy was in violation of the right to personal liberty and the fundamental tenets of freedom of speech and expression. “The draft policy was for snooping. It presupposes that 125 crore people of India are potential criminals. It reflects the inclination of the government and its intention to turn India into a totalitarian state,” Chadha said.
CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat alleged in a series of tweets how the Modi government was trying to implement the ‘Gujarat Snooping Model’ at national-level through the policy. “Gujarat Amit Shah – Saheb snooping Model being brought in through National encryption policy. No way! “Hands off WhatsApp. We don’t want Gujarat snooping model. #ModiDontReadMyWhatsapp #SnoopingHabitsDieHard,” the party quoted Karat as saying in a series of tweets. In a u-turn, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad yesterday announced withdrawal of the draft encryption policy that sought to make it mandatory for everyone to store all messages, including those of WhatsApp, for 90 days and it be shown on demand by security agencies.