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Congress blames Centre’s flip-flop on Pakistan for ‘disturbing situation’ in Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday hit out at the NDA government over the “disturbing” situation in Jammu and Kashmir because of the Centre’s “flip-flop” and “non-existent” policy on Pakistan, saying the time had come to act against terrorism being sponsored from across the border.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also attacked the prime minister and the BJP-PDP alliance in the state, saying that while Narendra Modi was “dithering”, soldiers were dying because of the “opportunistic” government in Jammu and Kashmir.

“PDP says ‘talks’ with Pakistan. BJP defence minister says ‘Pakistan will pay the price’. While our soldiers pay with their blood for BJP/PDP’s opportunistic alliance and non-existent Kashmir policy; Modi Ji dithers,” Gandhi tweeted.

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Taking potshots at the divergent stands taken by the BJP and the PDP, ruling partners in the troubled state, the Congress asked the government to clear its stand on whether it intended to hold talks with Pakistan.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said while Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP wanted talks with Islamabad, BJP’s defence minister stressed that India would respond to Pakistan at an appropriate time.

“We would like to ask the BJP at the national level because this has very profound national security implications where do they stand on the statement of the chief minister that we should be talking to Pakistan. It is a very disturbing situation which has evolved in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Tewari said the Congress wanted to know if the government had a policy on Pakistan.

“What transpired between 2014 May and 2018 February — suffice to say that it has been a story of U-turns, flip-flops and somersaults,” he said in an apparent reference to the bonhomie between Modi and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif when the BJP came to power in 2014.

Tewari said one day Pakistan’s premier was invited to India and on the other day, the Indian prime minister visited Pakistan — “but in between major terrorist attacks took place from Pakistan”.

“It has been a litany of errors which has characterised the entire approach of this government” vis-a-vis Pakistan, he said.

He wondered if the government was talking to Pakistan and if any back-channel talks were being held with Islamabad.

The Congress leader said the NDA-BJP Government had come out with the formulation that terror and talks could not go together, but there could be “talking about terror”.

“When will the time of talking about terror be over and when will you start acting on terror? This country does not want you to talk to Pakistan about terror; it wants you to act on the commitment that you had made to the people of India that you will act on the question of terror,” he said.

“They need to act on terror rather than talk about terror and that is the position of the Congress,” he said.

Tewari said the situation with regard to Pakistan was extremely serious and sensitive and called for an end to “this ingenuous formulation that while terror and talks cannot go hand in hand, we can talk to Pakistan about terror”.

Expressing concern over the Jammu and Kashmir situation, he said there have been 206 major terror attacks in the past 45 months and 160 major ceasefire violations in the 44 days of 2018. He added that 2,474 ceasefire violations had taken place along the border under NDA rule.

Tewari also asked whether the recommendations made by the Campose committee after the 2016 Pathankot attack had been implemented.

On Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement that “Pakistan will pay” for the attack by terrorists in Jammu, Tewari said it was repeated “ad nauseam whenever such an unfortunate incident takes place” and asked what had yielded out of talks with Pakistan in 44 months.

“Merely saying that Pakistan will be punished at an appropriate time does not serve any purpose because the reality is that terror is being sponsored from across the border. It is not lessening, it is in fact intensifying,” he said.

The Congress leader, however, skirted a question on its suspended leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s statement made in Pakistan where he praised the neighbouring country.

Published Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:31 PM | Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:31 PM

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A simple solution to end the encryption debate

Criminals and terrorists, like millions of others, rely on smartphone encryption to protect the information on their mobile devices. But unlike most of us, the data on their phones could endanger lives and pose a great threat to national security.

The challenge for law enforcement, and for us as a society, is how to reconcile the advantages of gaining access to the plans of dangerous individuals with the cost of opening a door to the lives of everyone else. It is the modern manifestation of the age-old conflict between privacy versus security, playing out in our pockets and palms.

One-size-fits all technological solutions, like a manufacturer-built universal backdoor tool for smartphones, likely create more dangers than they prevent. While no solution will be perfect, the best ways to square data access with security concerns require a more nuanced approach that rely on non-technological procedures.

The FBI has increasingly pressed the case that criminals and terrorists use smartphone security measures to avoid detection and investigation, arguing for a technological, cryptographic solution to stop these bad actors from “going dark.” In fact, there are recent reports that the Executive Branch is engaged in discussions to compel manufacturers to build technological tools so law enforcement can read otherwise-encrypted data on smartphones.

But the FBI is also tasked with protecting our nation against cyber threats. Encryption has a critical role in protecting our digital systems against compromises by hackers and thieves. And of course, a centralized data access tool would be a prime target for hackers and criminals. As recent events prove – from the 2016 elections to the recent ransomware attack against government computers in Atlanta – the problem will likely only become worse. Anything that weakens our cyber defenses will only make it more challenging for authorities to balance these “dual mandates” of cybersecurity and law enforcement access.

There is also the problem of internal threats: when they have access to customer data, service providers themselves can misuse or sell it without permission. Once someone’s data is out of their control, they have very limited means to protect it against exploitation. The current, growing scandal around the data harvesting practices on social networking platforms illustrates this risk. Indeed, our company Symphony Communications, a strongly encrypted messaging platform, was formed in the wake of a data misuse scandal by a service provider in the financial services sector.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

So how do we help law enforcement without making data privacy even thornier than it already is? A potential solution is through a non-technological method, sensitive to the needs of all parties involved, that can sometimes solve the tension between government access and data protection while preventing abuse by service providers.

Agreements between some of our clients and the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”), proved popular enough that FBI Director Wray recently pointed to them as a model of “responsible encryption” that solves the problem of “going dark” without compromising robust encryption critical to our nation’s business infrastructure.

The solution requires storage of encryption keys — the codes needed to decrypt data — with third party custodians. Those custodians would not keep these client’s encryption keys. Rather, they give the access tool to clients, and then clients can choose how to use it and to whom they wish to give access. A core component of strong digital security is that a service provider should not have access to client’s unencrypted data nor control over a client’s encryption keys.

The distinction is crucial. This solution is not technological, like backdoor access built by manufacturers or service providers, but a human solution built around customer control.  Such arrangements provide robust protection from criminals hacking the service, but they also prevent customer data harvesting by service providers.

Where clients choose their own custodians, they may subject those custodians to their own, rigorous security requirements. The clients can even split their encryption keys into multiple pieces distributed over different third parties, so that no one custodian can access a client’s data without the cooperation of the others.

This solution protects against hacking and espionage while safeguarding against the misuse of customer content by the service provider. But it is not a model that supports service provider or manufacturer built back doors; our approach keeps the encryption key control in clients’ hands, not ours or the government’s.

A custodial mechanism that utilizes customer-selected third parties is not the answer to every part of the cybersecurity and privacy dilemma. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that this dilemma will submit to a single solution, especially a purely technological one. Our experience shows that reasonable, effective solutions can exist. Technological features are core to such solutions, but just as critical are non-technological considerations. Advancing purely technical answers – no matter how inventive – without working through the checks, balances and risks of implementation would be a mistake.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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