Ashoka University and the Data Security Council of India (NASSCOM) have come together to form “CIPHER” (Coalition of India for a Progressive and Holistic Encryption Regime). CIPHER aims to be a coalition of like-minded institutions and individuals committed to preserving privacy and promoting digital trust by leveraging cutting-edge cryptographic technologies.

Institutions and individuals interested in joining this initiative can register their interest here. CIPHER will reach out to all interested institutions and individuals with more information on the operating principles of the coalition, membership formalities, and key activities that it will engage in throughout the course of the year.

CIPHER aims to foster frank discussions around critical issues related to encryption by holding seminars, writing whitepapers, and developing standards and best practices.

To this end, CIPHER will aim to achieve the following objectives:

Build a community of like-minded institutions and individuals to promote the use of encryption.

Build a nuanced understanding of encryption among government entities, policymakers, and parliamentarians.

Assist policymakers in building cryptographic solutions for improving governance in India.

Assist policymakers and the industry in the regulation of cutting-edge technologies that leverage cryptography.

Promote the development of encryption-based technologies and nurture India’s start-up ecosystem in this domain.

Develop research materials and explainers for policy issues involving cryptography such as end to end encryption.

Most notably, help improve user privacy and security for the average citizen.

CIPHER will focus on the following thematic areas in its first year of operation:

End to End Encryption and its role in protecting user privacy and maintaining national security.

Role of blockchain technology in improving governance in India.