Wary of cyber snooping, the government may ban use of e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo for official communications so as to safeguard its critical data.
Department of Electronics and Information Technology is drafting a policy on e-mail usage in government offices and departments, which will be released in two months.
"We are working on an e-mail policy. The policy will apply to all the central and state government employees using NIC. It will come out in about two months time," DEITY Secretary J Satyanarayana told PTI when asked whether the government is drafting a policy to check the use of e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo etc.
When asked about the e-mail services that will be banned, Satyanarayana said: "I will not be able to spell out the specifics. But, in general, it is to address the large amount of critical government data and ways and means to safeguard it."
While Satyanarayana refused to give details, officials said policy may make it mandatory for government offices to communicate only on the nic.in platform.
The government will send a formal notification after the policy is implemented in about two months covering about 5-6 lakh Central and State government employees to use the email service provided by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
The development comes close on heels of concerns being raised by a section in the government, especially intelligence agencies, over use of email services, provided by foreign firms (mostly US-based), which have their servers located in overseas locations, making it difficult to track if sensitive government data is being snooped upon.
The move also assumes significance in light of the fallout of the Snowden saga, which revealed that the US intelligence agencies used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide Internet data to spy on various countries, including India.
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 led to countries analysing the safety of their official Internet-supported communication networks.