At least 80 high-end Google Pixel ‘customised’ phones with Jio SIMs have been given to top bureaucrats on a ‘trial’ basis to ensure secure communication among them, according to a source in the IT ministry. The home ministry had drawn up a list of 100 officials from multiple ministries for the purpose, and 80 of these devices have been handed out so far, the source said.
The balance 20 units are in the pipeline, he added. The project is at a ‘pilot’ stage and the sample distribution is for measuring the performance and security of the device.
The Google Pixel phones were found to be compliant with the specifications given by the home ministry, and the ‘customisation’ of the 4G phones was undertaken by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL).
A home ministry official said that while the handset and the telecom service provider are important elements of security, the critical aspect is the application on which the communication – both voice and data – is based.
“If that and the application server are secured, encrypted and appropriately certified, the security issues can be broadly addressed,” the official said.