Govt to provide secured emails for employees by March

Aiming to protect the official communications systems from the constant cyber attacks, the government has said it would provide a secured email service to all government employees by March 2015.

 According to the plan prepared by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), 50 lakh government employees, both central and state, would get secured email service by the end of this fiscal.

A senior DeitY official told Deccan Herald that the National Informatics Centre is working on templates to standardise government emails which would be ready by end of October.

The decision follows concerns in some government quarters, especially in the intelligence, about using email services provided by foreign firms (mostly US-based).  Since the servers of the firms are located overseas, the agencies are unable to check the security of the sensitive data and ensure that they are not snooped upon.

The move is significant in the aftermath of the Snowden saga that revealed the US intelligence is using a secret data mining programme and monitoring worldwide internet data to spy on various countries including India.

Though the government has made it mandatory for the top level officials to use official NIC emails, the restriction would be extended to other employees as well.  Recently, DeitY dispatched a detailed email policy guidelines to the states, asking them to use only NIC email service for official communications instead of commercial services like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail.

The Centre also told the states to make use of encryption mandatory to send emails deemed sensitive or classified.

It asked the states to instruct officials to verify digital signatures wherever possible to ensure the authenticity of the downloaded files.

The guidelines also said employees of government organisations should have two email IDs, one bearing their designation and the other with their names.

Employees should handover the ID with their designation to their successor when they leave their position, while they could keep the ID with their name as long as they stay in the government service.

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