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I&B Ministry asks officials not to use smart devices in offices

New Delhi: In an attempt to put a check on the leak of classified information, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has asked its officials not to use digital assistant devices while working in the offices.

In detailed guidelines issued by the ministry, the officials have been advised not to share any secret information through any digital assistance devices either while working from home or office. The advisory has also 'warned' government officials not to use 'security-hardened' electronic devices for office communications.

As per the advisory, officials have also been asked not to keep digital assistant devices such as Echo, HomePod, and Google Home in their offices. "Officials have been suggested to keep voice assistants like Alexa or Siri in the smartphones or watches turned off and smartphones should not be allowed inside the meeting room if discussions are related to 'classified issues'," it said.

The ministry, in its advisory, has also directed officials not to use messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram for sharing classified information. Sharing any government information through messaging apps is a clear violation of information security instruction in the manual of the Departmental Security instructions and the National Information Security Policy Guidelines (NISPG), it said.

The officials have also been asked to not exchange 'Top Secret' and 'Secret' documents over the internet and it should be shared only in a closed network with leased line connectivity where Scientific Analysis Group grade encryption mechanism is deployed.

The ministry has also recommended government messaging platforms such as the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing's Samvad and the National Informatics Centre's (NIC) Sandesh for the communication of 'Confidential' and 'Restricted information'.

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