Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Acting on a petition filed against the National Investigation Agency (NIA) using Gmail in an advertisement to get information on Hyderabad blasts, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the government to prepare an email policy within four weeks in accordance with the Public Records Act, reports said.
A petition was filed in connection with an ad in newspapers given by the NIA on March 31 this year, which sought to gather information on the suspects in the Feb 21 twin blasts in Hyderabad`s Dilsukhnagar.
The advertisement declaring an award of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to the arrest of the accused, featured the landline number and the postal address of the agency`s Hyderanad branch.
Additionally, it also provided a gmail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that any crucial info regarding the terror blasts could be received.
The Gmail is a server of a private company with its headquarters based in the US and its usage by the country`s top investigating agency raised many eyebrows as it could mean threat to the national security.
The issue gains significance in light of the recent revelations by Edward Snowden`s documents that showed how widespread was the US intelligence gathering practices which tracked the sensitive internet data of many countries including India.
The HC`s direction to formulate an email policy for the government comes a day after it was decided to ban the usage of Yahoo and Gmail by December this year in order to protect the critical government data online.
The work of providing the uniform email ids for the government usage is done by the national informatics centre (NIC) and the government will be using NIC`s email service for all its internal communication.
The policy on email, which will cater to almost 6 lakh central and state government employees, is being drafted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), which according to the authorities, is complete and other ministries `opinions are being taken on it.