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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