Indian Govt likely to ban Yahoo, Gmail for official purposes

Soon, government employees may be banned from using e-mail services of Gmail and Yahoo for official communications.
Instead, they would have to use only nic.in platform, sources in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) told Deccan Herald. 

Worried about cyber snooping, the Centre is planning to ban the use of these popular e-mail services so as to safeguard its critical data.

The DEITY will formulate a policy governing e-mail usage in government offices. “The e-mail policy is applicable to central as well as state government employees using National Informatics Centre (NIC)”, DEITY Secretary J Satyanarayana said here. 

He said the main aim of the new e-mail policy is to address the large amount of critical government data and ways and means to safeguard it.

At present it is estimated that around 5-6 lakh Central and State government employees use the e-mail service provided by the NIC, a Central government body which provides e-governance platform for central and state governments, while the rest use other e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo.

Intelligence alert
In the past, intelligence agencies have alerted the Centre that use of e-mail services provided by foreign firms (mostly US-based) with their servers located in overseas locations, rendered it difficult to ascertain if sensitive government data was vulnerable to snooping.

The move assumes significance in the light of the Snowden revelations that US intelligence agencies used a secret data-mining programme to monitor Internet data worldwide and spy on various countries, including India.

Snowden effect

Former technical contractor for National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Edward Snowden had leaked details of a top-secret American mass surveillance programme, which prompted countries to review the safety of their official Internet-supported communication networks. 

India is the fifth most targeted country by the United States, data leaked by Snowden showed. Though India downplayed the US snooping charge, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said in Parliament last week that the government will do everything to protect its data.

 

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