Delhi HC questions why govt officials are using private email accounts

The Del­hi High Court has asked the gov­ern­ment why it was still allow­ing gov­ern­ment offi­cials to use pri­vate email accounts, adding that doing so amounts to vio­la­tion of legal provision.

Pri­vate email accounts, e.g. those pro­vid­ed by Yahoo! and Google (Gmail) etc. are host­ed by servers in for­eign coun­tries which essen­tial­ly means that infor­ma­tion stored or exchanged via those are being stored out­side the coun­try. Not only can this be termed as a breach of legal pro­vi­sions, but it could also pose threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty if ade­quate counter mea­sures are not adopt­ed by the government.

IT experts and con­cerned cit­i­zens have long been argu­ing that the gov­ern­ment should take a seri­ous note of the issue as it was vir­tu­al­ly mak­ing it eas­i­er for for­eign gov­ern­ments to snoop on Indi­an gov­ern­ment and citizens.

The HC made this obser­va­tion while hear­ing a PIL filed by ex-BJP ide­o­logue K.N. Govin­dacharya. The court, how­ev­er, took excep­tion to the case of gov­ern­ment depart­ments using social net­work­ing sites and seek­ing recov­ery of tax­es from websites.

The divi­sion bench hear­ing the case also stat­ed that the use of all email accounts oth­er than the ones man­aged by the Nation­al Infor­mat­ics Cen­ter (NIC) for offi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion must be stopped.

Mean­while, San­jay Jain, the Addi­tion­al Solic­i­tor rep­re­sent­ing the gov­ern­ment said that nec­es­sary steps are being tak­en to address the issue and the gov­ern­ment will short­ly draft an offi­cial email pol­i­cy.

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