Indian Government Likely To Ban Use Of Gmail, Yahoo, Etc For Official Communications

Indian Government Likely To Ban Use Of Gmail, Yahoo, Etc For Official CommunicationsConflict of laws in cyberspace has slowly and steadily started showing its impact. Initially, it was Indian government’s inability to deal with foreign technology companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc regarding the law enforcement requirements of India. Subsequently, it was realised that absence of a constructive control over these foreign companies is not good for national security and law enforcement requirements of India in the long run. Nothing short of a techno legal framework can solve these problems of India.

Meanwhile, one of the related case reached Delhi High Court that asked Indian government to formulate the e-mail policy of India. The Congress led government took a significant step in this direction and formulated an e-mail policy of India though it is yet to be implemented. Department of electronics and information technology (DeitY) issued documents like email services and usage policies of Government of India (PDF), NIC policy on format of e-mail address (PDF), password policy of Government of India (PDF), security policy for users by Government of India (PDF) and service level agreement by Government of India (PDF), etc for public comments. A final policy on this regard is yet to be issued.

We at Perry4Law have been stressing for long that India must ban Gmail and Yahoo e-mails for official communications. This is because the policies of these companies are such that they abet commission of cyber crimes in India. For instance, G-mail not only masks the Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) of a cyber criminals that makes it impossible to trace an IP Address without Google’s assistance but Google also insists upon following of non Indian laws for providing even basic level information. Till the time the entire legal process is over, the damage is already done.

Not only this, government officials are also violating the provisions of Public Records Act, 1993 wherever public records are involved. This is more troublesome when foreign intelligence agencies are targeting Indian citizens and foreign courts are allowing access to data and information of Indians at foreign locations against Indian laws.

In a much needed move, email services like G-mail, Yahoo, etc are likely to be banned for official use to safeguard critical and sensitive government data. DeitY has already moved a proposal in this regard for cabinet approval. We at Perry4Law welcome this move of BJP Government but what is more important is the decision of Narendra Modi government to allow ministries of defence and external affair to have their own e-mail infrastructures. Other ministries/departments would also be required to use the platform of the National Informatics Centre (NIC). We hope this decision would be implemented as soon as possible.