Fear of cyber threat: Union Ministers asked not to carry smartphones to Cabinet meets

The Congress criticised the government for issuing such a direction, calling it a “dictatorial and fascist order”.

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Updated: October 22, 2016 1:25 pm

The government has asked Union ministers to not carry mobile phones or smartphones to meetings of the Cabinet and Cabinet committees, apparently to prevent information leak as the issue of cyber threat grows around the world. An Office Memorandum issued by the Cabinet Secretariat on October 17 on the subject “Carrying smartphones/mobile phones inside meeting venues of Cabinet/Cabinet Committees” states, “It has been decided that smart phones/mobile phones will henceforth not be permitted inside the meeting venues of Cabinet/Cabinet Committees.”

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The memo also says, “The undersigned has been directed to request Private Secretaries to the Members of the Council of Ministers to appropriately brief the Members in this regard.”

Speaking about the surgical strikes by the Army across the Line of Control in Kashmir, the Defence Minister had recently said, “During the operations, I kept my mobile phone away, just to ensure that if it is compromised, nobody eavesdrops on important conversations. I mostly switch off my phone during important meetings but one can even bug the battery of your phone and listen to your conversations.”

The Congress, meanwhile, criticised the government for issuing such a direction. Calling it a “dictatorial and fascist order”, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said, “This has happened for the first time. This is one more example that the RSS and BJP do not want any kind of transparency.”
With this move, India will join countries such as Britain and France that have taken similar decisions on different occasions for different reasons.

There were reports recently that United Kingdom’s PM Theresa May banned ministers from wearing Apple smartwatches in Cabinet meetings, as the government is concerned that the microphone in these watches could be hacked. In 2014, French President François Hollande imposed a ban on cellphones during Cabinet sessions.

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First Published on: October 22, 2016 2:08 am
  1. T
    Trun
    Oct 22, 2016 at 2:04 am
    Day not far when you will be asked to divorce as that may cause security risk. As govt should know now a days wife been replaced by smart phone.
    Reply
    1. A
      arvind
      Oct 22, 2016 at 8:41 am
      This is a proof how a big coward this 56'' govt is.... darpok hain,,,,
      Reply
      1. J
        Johnnie Doe
        Oct 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm
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        Reply
        1. H
          Haridas Rao
          Oct 22, 2016 at 2:02 am
          Does the Congress just speak for the sake of speaking? These are routine security measures which are carried out by all government and even private enies , to some extent or the other.
          Reply
          1. N
            N.D.Jain ND
            Oct 22, 2016 at 9:04 am
            Yum se bada nahi.
            Reply
            1. A
              Ashok Mazumdar
              Oct 22, 2016 at 3:17 am
              Very Good Decision by Govt
              Reply
              1. S
                saligrama
                Oct 22, 2016 at 2:30 am
                Congress's reaction is nonsense and illogical. Even western governments like UK have such rules. Congress seems to be losing reason to reason with on any issue.
                Reply
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