Govt to keep tabs on encryption code compliance

Govt to keep tabs on encryption code compliance

Thursday, 20 March 2008, 13:34 Hrs
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New Delhi: The Department of Telecom is taking steps to ensure that all providers of Internet services strictly follow the prescribed encryption code. Currently, all Internet based service providers are required to submit a decryption key to the Government if they use more than 40 bit encryption code to secure the transactions, reported Business Line.

A number of service providers are not strictly following the rule and have not submitted the decryption code. The issue came to light when telecom operators providing Blackberry services told DoT last week that the Government was singling out one service for allegedly violating the encryption laws.

Most of the e-commerce web sites like those selling airline and movie tickets and banking application web sites use more than 128 bit encryption code. Though the higher code is required to keep the transactions more secure, the Indian security agencies find it impossible to track any highly encrypted transaction unless they have the decryption codes.

The Internet Service Providers have already requested DoT to raise the permitted levels from 40 bits to at least 128 bits in line with the changing technology. "The existing encryption laws were made when Internet services were just beginning to take shape in the country. It is really unfair to stick to the same standards when technology is enabling more secure transactions and highly complex transactions. If DoT insists on the 40 bit encryption then it will be taking the Internet back to the dark ages," said Rajesh Chharia, President, Internet Service Providers Association.

"On two counts, DoT's policy was not practical on two counts," says the industry experts. First, no company will give away its patented codes to leaky Government departments as it could make e-commerce applications unsecure. Second, under the existing rules, the procedure for submitting decryption keys, which is in digital form, has not been laid out. So even if anyone were bold enough to give the code to the Government, they would not know how to submit it.
Source: IANS
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