The government is most likely to ban the e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo for the official communications by December this yea.
This move to safeguard its critical and sensitive data comes in wake of Edward Snowden leaked information about the US spying under the program PRISM. Under the programme, the United States National Security Agency has not only spied Americans, but people around the world. The program is suspected of monitoring almost 75 percent of Internet traffic in America through access to servers owned by many of the major Internet tech companies, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. These service provided by foreign firms especially US-based have their servers located in overseas locations, making it difficult to track if sensitive government data is being snooped upon.
The government is expected to route all its official communication through the official website NIC’s email service.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) is drafting a policy on e-mail usage for government offices and departments and the policy is almost ready. The department is now taking views from other ministries on it.
“E-mail policy of the government of India, as this policy will be called, is almost ready and we are taking views from other ministries on this. Our effort will be to operationalise it by mid or end-December,” DEITY secretary J. Satyanarayana told reporters on the sidelines of a CII summit.
According to official sources, the policy seeks to protect the large amount of critical government data.
It also aims to make it mandatory for government offices to communicate only on the nic.in platform rather than commercial email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc.
The policy is expected to cover about 5-6 lakh Central and State government employees for using the email service provided by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
On investments required for the policy, Satyanarayana said: “We immediately require about Rs.4-5 crore to ramp up the NIC infrastructure. But, the total investment needed for the full operationability of the e-mail policy could be around Rs.50-100 crore.”
This will also include integrating the e-mails with cloud so that official data can be saved on a cloud platform, which can then be easily shared with the concerned government ministries and departments, he added.
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