The Indian government is certainly getting paranoid. It will start using its own secure email by March 2015 as it plans to ban use of popular email services like Gmail and Yahoo! in its official communication. It is a step taken as a preventive measure of course, to safeguard critical and sensitive government data. The government has approved the proposal moved by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to establish a secure and encrypted email service for government officials.
If all things go as planned, 5 million officials will be using it by March 2015. The project has already been allocated a budget of Rs.`100 crore. This huge sum of money includes an increased infrastructure and additional security of servers that will be used to store the aforementioned emails. According to reports, the government communication, excluding the communication of the Ministry of Defense and External Affairs, will be done using the NIC platform. The Defense Ministry has its own separate secure email server and the External Affairs ministry may also follow soon. “We are in the process of implementing this. At present about a million officials have been covered by it and we need to scale it to cover a total of 5 million employees.
“This process will be completed by March 2015,” DeitY Secretary R S Sharma told PTI. “We need to scale the infrastructure of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to accommodate this large number of officials. Also there will be a state-of-the-art security for the service to ensure nothing happens,” he said.
What caused this sudden move towards internet security? One can make a highly educated guess and say that it is the result of the five million usernames and passwords of Google were reported to have been leaked online by Russian hackers 2-3 months back. Governments worldwide have been trying to secure their official communication post Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance, and India isn’t the kind of country who will be left behind.