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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Central employees can’t access Facebook, Twitter via office systems

Central employees can’t access Facebook, Twitter via office systems

New Delhi: The central Government Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it will issue an advisory prohibiting government employees from accessing social networking websites like facebook, twitter through office systems.
Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K N Govindacharya

The court said the government had to “recognise the power” of social networking sites and consider banning use of such sites on government office systems networks.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, who had appeared on behalf of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, assured the court that the government would soon issue an advisory to government servants to not use social networking sites from their official systems.

The court also directed not to use Internet services of external service providers for official purposes.

“You (Centre) will issue an advisory that those people who have been given official e-mail accounts (NIC.In) will immediately use that e-mail ids and to increase the number of employees on official accounts,” A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed asked the centre.

The bench also clarified that the server pertaining to the official email account should be “housed in India itself”.

Mehra said to the bench that around 4.5 lakh employees have already been given e-mail accounts by the NIC and the technical upgradation would be required to provide the facility to around five million other employees.

Yesterday, the Centre filed an affidavit saying government employees will be given email accounts for “mandatory” use in official communications and use of Internet services of “external service providers” will be prohibited.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology, which has been rapped by the court for not coming out with the e-mail Policy for government officials, said the CoS has undertaken a wider consultation process among stake-holders in the country.

“The E-mail Policy of the Government of India lays down the guidelines with respect to use of email services. As per the proposed policies, email accounts will be given to all the employees of the Government and it will be mandatory for them to use this email account for all official communications,” the affidavit said.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K N Govindacharya, seeking direction to the central government to bring in an e-mail policy for government officials in consonance with the Public Records Act in order to bar transfer of data to a server outside the country.

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