India wants to make deleting instant messages illegal

In a bid to try and solve the encryption / national security stalemate, the Indian government tried to make deleting instant messaging from mobile apps offering encrypted messaging – illegal.

The draft bill sparked national outrage and was quickly pulled out.

The policy draft, written by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, stipulated that mobile users in the country would be legally required to store any encrypted communications on their devices for up to 90 days and could be punished if they failed to comply, Cnet wrote in a report.

Pretty much every mainstream instant messaging app uses some form of encryption, including WhatsApp and iMessage, two apps which are being threatened with a complete ban in the UK.

"All information shall be stored by the concerned [organisations/citizens] entity for 90 days from the date of transaction and made available to Law Enforcement Agencies as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country," the draft read.

However, following public and social media outcry, an amendment was made excluding "mass encryption products" like the above mentioned services from the policy.

However, the draft didn't stop there. It was also said that all services offering encrypted communication must alert their presence to the government.

"All vendors of encryption products shall register their products with the designated agency of the Government," it read. "While seeking registration, the vendors shall submit working copies of the encryption software / hardware to the Government along with 4 professional quality documentation, test suites and execution platform environments."

The draft is open for public comment until October 16.