The reports of cyber spying carried out by US Government seems to have woken up Indian Government officials. They may soon ask all Indian Government officers to stop using gmail for official communication purposes.
Though Indian Govt employees are entitled to official Email IDs on NIC (National Informatics Center) network, because it uses legacy mail technology, most officials prefer using email IDs on gmail, which is reliable. Most of the emails sent via or to official Ids either get delayed or get bounced.
To get a general idea about how many Govt. officials use Gmail ID, we found that literally every department has many people using it. Visit any of the contact pages of any of government website and one will find that Gmail is the most used Email platform by them. For e.g: check the email IDs listed on some of the pages that we visited – here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
Every Government website we visited had atleast a few gmail IDs, that too of senior officials. What is more surprising is even hon. minister of communication & IT, Mr. Kapil Sibal is not using official email ID. He has hotmail and Yahoo email IDs listed against his name, while his senior officers, all of them have Gmail IDs.
See the screenshot here.
According to TOI, senior official from ministry of Comm & IT said that they plan to send formal notification to nearly 5 Lakh Govt employees to stop using gmail email services. This is due to fact that all the Gmail communication resides on servers located in US, and keeping in mind recent surveillance expose, they want to makes sure that privacy is protected and email data breach is prevented.
Though it is a welcome decision, Govt needs to first update their existing email platform with a more reliable and secure one, which their employees can depend upon. Just curbing them from using gmail platform may not work if they do not have a reliable system in place.
Secondly, such order should not only curb using Gmail, but other email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo too, as they are equally prone to surveillance and data breach.
What is your take on this?