Centre proposes ban on Gmail, Yahoo and Facebook sites in India government offices

Picture for representational purpose only. Reuters

The Centre on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that it has proposed a national email policy for official communication under which five million new IDs would be created to carry out the work, without depending on foreign mail services like Gmail or Yahoo.

Popular mail services and social networking sites like Gmail, Yahoo and Facebook will not be used for official communication of government employees to ensure secure access and usage of data, it submitted, adding that the access to social networking will be banned in government offices.

Earlier, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul had asked the Centre to form an email policy for the government officials in consonance with the Public Records Act to bar transfer of data to a server located outside India.

Former BJP idelogue K.N. Govindacharya, the petitioner, had contended that the use of email accounts whose servers were outside India and transfer of nation’s official data using them violated the Act.

The PIL had also sought prohibiting minors from using social media sites. The subject, however, did not come up for discussion in the court.

In its affidavit, the Centre also stated that it has proposed another policy- Policy on Acceptable Use of IT Resources of Government of India- that lays down the guidelines with respect to use of all IT resources. It, further, submitted that a similar practice is being followed in several Western countries.

The plea had also sought a direction to ensure safety of the data of 50 million Indian users.

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