National security has become the top agenda for the Government of India, especially after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Moreover, the bomb blasts in Jaipur, Bengaluru, Delhi and Guwahati has left us all questioning the national security and public safety of India. On the other hand, protecting digitised government data is also an uphill task. Government websites, networks and computers are at the receiving end of information hackers. February 2009 saw 600 computers of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) being hacked. The situation is even more grim, given the fact that the terrorists today are extremely techno-savvy. The mobile phones at our fingertips is also not spared the brunt. There are increasing number of threats on mobile phones and the confidentiality of data and information needs good amount of attention. In such times, it is not wrong to say that cyber security and physical security are two sides of the same coin and a worthy synergy between the two is the only solution to foster the overall national security of the country.
The amalgamation of physical and virtual security is well recognised by the top security agencies such as the Border Security Force. They are well in tune to leverage the maximum benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for securing India. Today, technologies such as CCTV and surveillance cameras are equipped to monitor terrorists activities and other such threats. Even the Public Sector Units are not behind in this race, Power Grid has taken a lead in this regard. Also, the Indian banking industry does not want to be left behind as they have massively turned towards usage of ICT. This sector is even more threatened due to the ‘financial’ aspects attached with it. The e-Banks and m-Banks has to provide easy banking solutions without compromising upon the security of financial transactions.
India’s e-Readiness rank has dropped to 113 in 2008 from 87 in 2007 according to the United Nations e-Government Survey 2008– questioning our preparedness towards securing India through ICT. This issue of egov is woven along these lines and calls for debates and deliberations on the issue of securing and safeguarding India. Also, watch out for a special discussion on ‘Security and Public Safety’ in eINDIA, this August 2009.
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