is contemplating giving armed personnel special mobile phones, which are likely to be designed by an Indian company.
The idea is to keep data
and communication devices used by the defence forces
secure. The plan was in the preliminary stages and the government
would deliberate on it further after internal discussions and talks with other stakeholders, including manufacturers, said officials. The specifications for the mobile phone will also be discussed later.
“The Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, had discussed about the possibility of making a mobile phone designed exclusively for the armed forces
with all security features,” an officer in the ministry said.
The main aim of the government, he said, was to ensure data
transferred over the phones are secure. The data
should reside in servers in India, so that the government
and the law enforcement agencies have full control over it. This is the reason why an Indian manufacturer is likely to be chosen.
The possibility of using a foreign company that has servers in India cannot be ruled out, the official added.
has over the past few months become extra cautious regarding the data
and how it can be misused by adversaries. To keep the data
on Indian servers, the government
had devised an e-mail policy, which ensured secure services for all its officials. The secure communications is being offered to 5 million users.
According to a government
statement, “In accordance with the e-mail policy of the government, an e-mail id will be assigned to all government
officials at the Centre and the states through the National Informatics Centre.”
The primary trigger for the policy was the government data
that resides on servers outside India and on servers beyond the control of the Government
of India. Recently, the government
had cracked the whip on smartphone manufacturers, asking them to share their security practices while making phones in India. It had issued notices to about 30 smartphone manufacturers. Around 12 companies have responded and the rest have sought more time.
According to government
officials, India wants to strengthen and secure its cyberspace and digital infrastructure, more so in a situation when most firms making smartphones in India have servers abroad. A majority of these firms are Chinese, which either sell the devices directly or provide parts to Indian manufacturers.
is uncomfortable depending too much on Chinese firms in the electronics sector, as such data
would be more vulnerable to hacking and misuse.