India Must Ban Gmail And Yahoo E-Mails For Official Communications

India Must Ban Gmail And Yahoo E-Mails For Official CommunicationsFor too long companies like Google have been denying to follow the laws of India by citing its own governing laws and policies. There are many reasons why companies like Google can take Indian laws and Indian cyber security for granted. The chief among them is lack of a strong and effective techno legal framework to regulate companies like Google.

Technology companies like Yahoo, Google, etc have been accused of providing a direct entry to the intelligence agencies of United States into their servers and data centres. Similarly, intelligence agencies like national security agency (NSA) are covertly gaining access to the data centres of Google, Yahoo, etc.  James Clapper, the director of NSA, has also confirmed that NSA is targeting foreign nationals, including Indians, for e-surveillance and eavesdropping activities of NSA.

India is a late entrant in the field of cyber security and it is only now that the cyber security policy of India has been formulated. Now Indian government is trying to cover the field step by step. In a move to safeguard its critical and sensitive data and to minimise external spying, the government announced that it could ban e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo for official communications by December this year. The government had declared that all official communications will take place through the National Informatics Centre (NIC’s) email service.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) is currently drafting a policy on e-mail usage for government offices and departments and the policy is almost ready. The policy seeks to protect the large amount of critical government data and is expected to cover about 5-6 lakh Central and State government employees for using the email service provided by NIC.

The new initiative was recommended by a section in the government, especially intelligence agencies, over use of email services, provided by the US-based firms having their servers located in overseas locations, making it difficult to track if sensitive government data is being sneaked into. They have even recommended establishment of servers in India by Internet telephony and VOIP service providers in India.

Companies like Google, Yahoo, etc must also be asked to establish their respective servers in India so that Indian laws can be given effect to maximum extent. Presently, Google has been refusing to entertain legally valid requests from Indian law enforcement agencies and Indian attorneys.

Meanwhile, the BRICS nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are building their own high-speed Internet free of the U.S. influence. Tech firms have started massive lobbying in Brazil to stall a legislation that may force Google, Facebook and other Internet companies to store locally gathered data inside Brazil. India is also required to formulate strict techno legal legislations that can force the companies like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc to compulsorily establish servers and technology infrastructure in India. While doing so the lobbying by these technology companies must not be given any importance in India as it has already caused big loss for Indian cyberspace.

When both U.S. technology companies and U.S. government are ignoring complying with Indian laws and even the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between U.S. and India has proved to be mere sham, there is no sense in delaying enactment of a techno legal framework in this regard.