FG moves to ban gmail, others for official work

*Minister of communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu

The use of private e-mail networks like Gmail, Yahoo and others will soon be officially banned for all government use, in a renewed security ethos designed to permeate through all tiers of government and its agencies and to protect state mechanism from deliberate and unintended abuse.

In its place, it will be compulsory for all federal civil servants to use only the .ng domain-based websites and emails addresses.

Previous attempts to ban the use of so-called free email accounts like Yahoomail, Gmail, etc; and enforce the use of .ng based emails for government businesses were hobbled by bureaucracy coupled by the sore-footed and refractory approach of civil servants.

But the federal government, now wary of cyber snooping as well as the flagrant abuse and leakage of important government information through free email accounts may soon outlaw the practice.

A source at the presidency said that “very soon, the government will completely outlaw e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo for official communications”

“The new email policy when released will make it mandatory for government offices to communicate only on .gov.ng rather than commercial email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc” according to the source.

The development comes close on heels of concerns that some civil servants have inadvertently transmitted sensitive government data and information through their own free email addresses which pose national security challenges.

There are also concerns by intelligence agencies, over use of email services, provided by foreign firms which have their servers located in overseas locations, making it difficult to track if sensitive government data is being snooped upon.

It is also a measure to tackle the menace of cyber criminals who set up fraudulent websites and have reduced Nigeria’s image among the comity of nations.

It would be recalled that since 2009, the federal government through Galaxy Backbone Plc, a public enterprise of the government begun moves to replace so-called free email used by government officials for communication with accounts ending in .ng.

.ng is Nigeria’s Code Top Level domain name, an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for Nigeria only.

Already, Galaxy Backbone is currently hosting over 250 government websites and has created some 50,000 e-mail accounts for staff of the federal government.

When the federal government is able to achieve complete migration of all government ministries, departments and agencies as well as civil servants to .ng domain based websites and emails; emails sent or received on free email account, no matter their content, are not public records because they are not owned or used by a government agency.



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