Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has proposed to ban foreign email services like Gmail and Yahoo for official use to safeguard critical and sensitive government data.
According to sources, all Government communication apart from those of ministry of defence and external affairs, may soon be done using the platform by NIC. The proposal will be presented by DeitY for cabinet approval by month end. The Defence Ministry already has its own separate secure email server and the External Affairs may soon follow suit.
The proposal has been made to protect large amount of critical government data and aims to make it mandatory for government offices to communicate only on nic.in platform, not on email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Under the policy over 5-6 lakh central and state government employees will be asked to use email service provided by NIC.
DeitY will require about Rs 4-5 crore to update NIC's infrastructure, to ensure smooth working of the NIC platform. Apart from that, a total investment of around Rs 50-100 crore would be required for full operationability of the policy. The proposal has been made amidst concerns about rising cybercrime and hacking incidents. Recently five million Google usernames and passwords were leaked online by Russian hackers.
Last year, a similar proposal was submitted, where central government officials were banned to use Gmail, Yahoo or any other email services that are based abroad to prevent transfer of data. The submission was made before the court following a petition filed by former BJP leader N. Govindacharya stating that the use of e-mail accounts whose servers were outside India and transfer of nation’s official data using this medium was a violation of the Public Records Act.