Wednesday January 16, 2019
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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New Delhi: The now withdrawn draft policy on encryption which violates the right to privacy of communication was a move by the government to curb individual freedom, said the Congress and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Referring to the now withdrawn draft policy, he said if businesses store plain text version of encrypted communication for 90 days from the date of transaction, it would have led to massive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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More Power Given to Congress State Units For 2019 Battle

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a "charge-sheet" about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy

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Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
Congress state units given more power for 2019 battle- wikimedia commons

Bracing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has accorded more powers and autonomy to its state units in deciding candidates as well as strategising for publicity and coordination.

According to informed sources, in a meeting of the Congress core committee with state presidents held on Thursday in the national capital, the central leadership asked the state units to fill up vacancies in block and district committees at the earliest besides identifying probable candidates for the 2019 mega battle in the respective states.

“Keeping in view that there will be state-specific alliances and electoral understandings, the state units have been asked to identify potential seats that can be spare for the allies. The emphasis is also on reaching out to the grassroots and build connect with the masses at booth levels,” said a party source.

The source also said that the central leadership harped on finalising the candidate lists providing ample time for discussions on seat sharing with probable allies.

Besides the national issues including the Rafale deal, agrarian distress and unemployment, the state units have also been given a say to have local issues accommodated in the party manifesto for 2019.

credit: www.indiawires.com

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has constituted a 19-member Manifesto Committee to chalk out the manifesto for the general elections.

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a “charge-sheet” about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy.

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Gandhi has already constituted a nine-member “core committee” to supervise and organise the party’s preparations for general elections that includes party veterans like A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge.

With the party persistently raising the issue of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs), state units have also been asked to organise workshops to educate the party workers about the functioning of the machines and guard against any malpractices. (IANS)