Alert! Don’t use WhatsApp, Telegram for THIS purpose, officials told by govt

Social media apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are not a safe to share confidential information or documents, the government has told its officials. Keeping this aspect in view, Centre has released new communication guidelines, which orders all government workers not to use WhatsApp, Telegram, or other social media apps to share confidential information. The reason behind it is that the servers of these apps are owned by private companies worldwide, and the information could be misused by anti-India forces. They further stated that during the work from home (WFH) period, authorities should only connect via e-office applications, according to news agency IANS. The order also spans Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, Google Meet, Zoom etc.

The order on WhatsApp, Telegram and other social media apps comes after analysing the loopholes in the current system. Centre has released a revised communication advisory created by the Intelligence agencies as a result of persistent violations of national communication norms and government directions to avoid classified information leaks. All ministries have been instructed to take “immediate steps” to prevent such violations and to rigorously adhere to the communication security policies and guidelines when dealing with sensitive or restricted communications.

HTThe new instructions further stated that employees should refrain from sharing sensitive information or documents via home setup during work from home. Also, home systems should only be connected to the office network via the National Informatics Centre’s (NIC) Virtual Private Network. In addition to this, the new communication guidelines have been distributed to all Union Ministries and Departments, and top officials have been instructed not to use smart-watches or smart phones during meetings when confidential or national security-related issues are discussed.

Not just these, the new standards of communication advisory also mention the rules for virtual meetings. Since the start of the pandemic, work from home and video meetings have been normalised for everyone. Officials are advised to only use video conference solutions set up by the Department of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), National Informatics Centre (NIC), as well as mandatory use passwords to access the chat room and waiting room facilities, instead of holding virtual meetings on private apps like Google Meet or Zoom.

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