In a move to counter cybersecurity threats, the Prime Minister’s Office has banned mobile phones in cabinet meetings. The decision aimed to prevent the leak of any sensitive information about the cabinet decisions and matters of policymaking. The Central Secretariat recently issued a circular to this effect. The circular was issued in the direction of the PMO. The Central Secretariat asked all the private secretaries to brief their ministers ‘appropriately’ about the decision that “smart-phones/mobile phones henceforth will not be permitted inside meeting venues of Cabinet/Cabinet committees.
Based on the intelligence inputs, the government fears that Chinese or Pakistani agencies may hack the devices in the aftermath of the surgical strikes. The government has already instructed employees of sensitive departments not to connect their mobile phones to their official computers or laptops, even for charging. The departments in the South Block- that houses the PMO, Defence Ministry, and Ministry of External Affairs are no-smartphone zones.
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BANNED IN UK, FRANCE
Mobile phones are already banned in cabinet meetings in Britain and France. David Cameron imposed the ban on mobile phones in cabinet meetings in May 2010, when he was the prime minister of Britain.
In France use of mobile phones during cabinet meetings was prohibited in April 2014.