Published On: Sun, Jan 3rd, 2016

Disclosure of govt email IDs a security threat: CIC

New Delhi: Email IDs of all government officials cannot be provided under the Right to Information Act as it could cause a serious security threat, the Central Information Commission has ruled.

Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad

Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad

The Full Bench of the Commission, however, directed the National Informatics Centre to quickly complete a web directory carrying email IDs of officials dealing public issues in larger public interest.

“Providing the list of all email IDs in a CD format could pose a security threat as well as the risk of disruption of essential public services by making the information susceptible to misuse/abuse,” the Bench comprising Information Commissioners Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad and Sridhar Acharyulu said.

It said the government has to make sure that the emails and websites of its ministries and departments do not become targets for anti-social elements “within and beyond the country”.

The Bench said that on a “practical and possible logical front”, the apprehension of the NIC, while withholding the email IDs of all the officials, cannot be completely overlooked because “availability and access to such wide array of information leaves scope for misuse and abuse of the same at the hands of any person”.

“Apart from random mischief mongers or technical geeks or harmless but curious persons who may disrupt the entire cyber network by irresponsible handling of the information viz. the list of email IDs; the country actually runs a far greater risk of exposing itself to inimical, hostile nations, waiting to harm national security and interest by triggering a cyber attack or even worse, hacking into the systems and obtaining valuable confidential information of national importance,” the order said.


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