Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Nature and Scope of ICT, Cyber Security concerns
Central government is testing a prototype of an Indian equivalent of popular messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for secure internal use.
What is GIMS?
- Government Instant Messaging System(Codenamed GIMS) is in the pilot testing stage across some state, including Odisha and is learnt to have been released to the Indian Navy to be tried out on trial basis.
- It is designed and developed by the Kerala unit of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- It is being packaged for employees of Central and state government departments and organisations for intra and interorganisation communications.
- It is being developed as a secure Indian alternative without the security concerns attached with apps hosted abroad or those owned by foreign entities.
- Like WhatsApp, GIMS employs end-to-end encryption for one-to-one messaging.
- A GIMS Portal is also being simultaneously developed for administration and monitoring of the platform.
- Besides one-to-one messaging and group messaging, there are specific provisions in GIMS for documents and media sharing in keeping with the hierarchies in the government system.
- It is being touted as a safer bet as the platform has been developed in India, the server hosting it is installed within the country and the information stored would be in government-based cloud — NIC-operated data centres that are only meant for captive use by the government and its departments.
- The launch of new App is significant as the popular messaging platform WhatsApp was recently used to spy on journalists and human rights activists in India.
- The surveillance was carried out using a spyware tool called Pegasus, which has been developed by an Israeli firm, the NSO Group.