Wednesday May 23, 2018
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Congress, AAP accuses Govt of seeking to curb individual freedom

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New Delhi: The now withdrawn draft policy on encryption which violates the right to privacy of communication was a move by the government to curb individual freedom, said the Congress and the AAP.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the government did a U-turn under public pressure.

He said the government’s move of first circulating the draft and then amending and withdrawing it was a “totalitarian, misconceived and a failed attempt” to override individual freedom of speech.

“Subjugation of individual freedom, surveillance of citizens and suppression of dissent have emerged as the DNA of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government,” Surjewala said.

The Aam Aadmi Party said the draft policy was a direct attempt to influence communication between citizens.

“The BJP government tried to push through a policy that appears to have thrown all sense of individual rights and privacy out of the window,” the ruling party in Delhi said.

“The government wants to monitor (rather snoop) the way we use modern communication platforms like WhatsApp, BBM, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, private server emails,” AAP said.

It said the draft policy also had clauses which would have had an adverse impact on businesses and start-up culture in India.

The Congress said that contrary to the stated objective of creating an information-secure environment and secure transactions, the draft policy gave the government a “license to indulge in 24×7 surveillance, monitor private lives of citizens – particularly the young population – and introduce a new registration and license raj”.

It said that by the end of 2014, India had 24.31 crore internet users (17.3 crore mobile internet users), 11.2 crore Facebook users, over eight crore Whatsapp users, 2.2 crore Twitter users and over 95 crore mobile connections.

The spokesman said individual liberty was fraught with “dangerous dimensions” in the Modi government.

Referring to the now withdrawn draft policy, he said if businesses store plain text version of encrypted communication for 90 days from the date of transaction, it would have led to massive expenditure on creation of additional storage capacity apart from risks of cyber-theft.

Surjewala said practically all online activity would have been controlled by the new policy as operating systems in Windows, Linux and Mac, e-commerce services like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and email services like Yahoo, Rediff and Gmail use encryption technologies.

And every communication device like telephone or tablet or computer would have been required to be registered.

Following an outcry, the govt on Tuesday withdrew the draft encryption policy. Earlier, it exempted social media sites and apps users, as also net banking and password-based e-commerce, from saving data for 90 days from the date of transaction.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)