Telegram Current Affairs - 2020

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What is Government Instant Messaging System?

The Centre Government is testing a prototype of an Indian equivalent of popular messaging application platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for secure internal use. This secure messaging app is codenamed as ‘Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS)’. It is being packaged for employees of Central government as well as state government departments and organisations for intra and inter organisation communications.

Currently the platform is in pilot testing stage across some states, (like Odisha) and is learnt to have been released to Indian Navy to be tried out on trial basis. In addition to this, a GIMS Portal is also being simultaneously developed for administration and monitoring of platform.

About Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS)

Objective: To develop a secure Indian alternative without security concerns attached with apps hosted abroad or those owned by foreign entities like WhatsApp, Telegram etc.

Key Features:

GIMS is designed and developed by Kerala unit of National Informatics Centre (NIC). As the platform has been developed in India, it is being touted as a safer bet.

Unlike these popular messaging application, GIMS employs end-to-end encryption for one-to-one messaging. Besides one-to-one messaging and group messaging, GIMS has a specific provision for documents and media sharing in keeping with the hierarchies in government system.

Servers Based in India: The server hosting GIMS is installed within India and the information stored would be in government-based cloud – NIC (National Informatics Centre) -operated data centres that are only meant for captive use by government and its departments.

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Russia President Putin signs “Sovereign Internet” law

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 2 May 2019  signed into law a “sovereign internet” bill which will allow Russian authorities to isolate the country’s internet. The move expands Government Control of Internet, is being publicly denounced by all rights groups in country.

Key Highlights

  • The text of the law was published on 1 May 2019 but it will not come into effect until November.
  • Russian lawmakers support the new law as deeming it necessary to ensure security of Russia’s online networks.
  • It includes measures such as to create technology to monitor internet routing, to steer Russian internet traffic away from foreign servers, allegedly to prevent a foreign country from shutting it down.
  • In March 2019, Putin signed another controversial law which allowed courts to fine and briefly jail people who showed disrespect towards authorities, and also block media for publishing “fake news”.
  • These laws are part of an ongoing Kremlin clampdown on media and internet freedoms in which people are jailed even for sharing humorous memes.
  • The move would also target largely Telegram (a popular messaging app) widely used by Russians.

Criticism

  • It is being criticized as a vaguely worded bill which gives new censorship powers to government monitors and is aimed at restricting information and communication online.
  • It will allow greater surveillance by Russian intelligence agencies, and increase ability of state authorities to control information.

Reason

The government defended the legislation as a defensive move in case the United States would cut Russia off from the global Internet. Also, Russia must ensure its networks security after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new American cybersecurity strategy in 2018 which accused Russia of carrying out cyber-attacks with impunity.

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