India plans to ban Gmail for government workers after Snowden leaks


Indian government said to be banning use of Gmail and other American email clients for government workers in light of NSA scandal.


Nicholas Kamm

The Indian government says that it plans to ban its employees from using American email clients like Gmail in light of revelations of massive US surveillance programs.

The move is intended to protect confidential government information from US intelligence agencies who appear to have direct access to servers of major American internet companies.

The government said that it will send a notice soon to about 500,000 employees telling them to use only the email client provided by India's National Informatics Centre.

"Gmail data of Indian users resides in other countries as the servers are located outside. Currently, we are looking to address this in the government domain, where there are large amounts of critical data," said J Satyanarayana, secretary in the department of electronics and information technology, according to the Times of India.

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Google has not yet been informed of the ban.

Documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed a large-scale US spying program that could scoop up large swathes of the world's internet traffic data.

The revelations showed that the NSA likely had access to the servers of internet companies like Google, Facebook and Apple through programs like PRISM.

The fallout of the leaks has been large, as many countries sought answers as to the extent of US spying on their citizens and government.

The website techdirt speculated on the fallout of such programs: "when you begin turning your spy-sights on your allies, particularly allies as important as the Indian government, you just have to wonder whether more harm than good will come of all this."