Electronic mail or e-mail is one of the favourite methods of cyber criminals to compromise computer systems and to gain sensitive and personal information. Further, service providers like G-mail are abetting and encouraging commission of cyber crimes as well. E-mail service providers like g-mail, yahoo, hotmail, etc are also facilitating violating the provisions of Public Records Act, 1993 wherever public records are involved.
Realising the seriousness of the situation, Delhi High Court is analysing e-mail policy of India and complaint mechanism to Facebook. The Delhi High Court has also directed Central Government to issue notification regarding electronic signature under Information Technology Act 2000. An advisory by Maharashtra Government to use official e-mails has already been issued.
The recent e-surveillance initiatives of National Security Agency (NSA) of United States created uproar among world community at large. James Clapper, the Director of NSA, has also admitted that NSA is targeting foreign citizens for surveillance. This includes netizens of India as well.
Issues like e-surveillance and conflict of laws have forced India to exert more control over its cyberspace. India has even suggested formulation of an international regulatory framework for Internet governance at the United Nations. Even the United Nations (UN) Third Committee approved text titled Right to Privacy in the digital age to curb e-surveillance practices among various nations.
However, India must ensure techno legal measures to regulate Indian cyberspace. Further, domain name protection in India must be free from ICANN’s influence as ICANN is not helping in enforcement of Indian laws at all.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has already issued policy documents in this regard. These include email services and usage policies of Government of India (PDF), NIC policy on format of e-mail address (PDF), password policy of Government of India (PDF), security policy for users by Government of India (PDF) and service level agreement by Government of India (PDF).
However, issues like non cooperation by United States and companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc registered there must be resolved on a priority basis. Although an Indo-American alert, watch and warn network for real time information sharing in cyber crime cases has been proposed yet its establishment and effectiveness is yet to be tested. In the past US has not only refused to serve Indian summons upon US websites including Facebook and Google but has also blocked a MLAT attempt to make Google, Facebook, etc comply with Indian Laws. Meanwhile companies like Google and Facebook continue to violate Indian Laws. The present e-mail policy of India must consider all these aspects before allowing foreign e-mail services to be used in India.