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DoT Considering Pan India Secure Network Exclusively For The Government

Internet security has been a concern for the Indian government for a long time now. As per the information tracked and reported to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) a total of 90, 119, 252 and 117 Government websites were hacked in the year 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (till June) respectively by various hacker groups. Therefore, for maintaining the security of classified Government communication, Department of Telecom (DoT) is considering the development of a secured communication network for telecom and Internet communication, with government funding of Rs 450 crore.

The latest report of the DoT says, "To develop and deploy a Pan India secure network and network‐based services such as email, VoIP, mobile communication through a survivable and available network architecture for secured communication for government use with a government funding of Rs 450 crore."

As of now, most of the email and VoIP users in India rely on services provided by international firms like Google (Gmail), Yahoo! ( Yahoo Mail), Skype, among others. Even though these services use proprietary encryptions, which are considered to be secure from hackers and antisocial elements, the communication made through these services can still be accessed by the government of other countries (where the servers for providing these services are hosted) by invoking the provisions of their laws.

According to the report, since a lot of intra‐government communication is classified, the security of this communication has to be ensured by an alternative mechanism because it is not advisable to wait for such a mandating and capacity building and it may not be appropriate to rely on the level of security provided by such a scheme (as communication would still remain in open domain of the Internet).

Therefore, the report states, "For the high security of classified Government communication, a secured communication network is proposed to be established for fixed and wireless communication at an estimated capital cost of Rs 300 crore. Further, Rs 100 crore for five years are proposed to be earmarked for operational expenditure and Rs 50 crore for research and development (R&D)."

Additionally, BSNL and MTNL would be reimbursed full capital cost they incur for building the secured communication fixed network, which is being rolled out by them on a commercial basis.

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