Cyber Patriot Task Force – Introduction

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1st Communication: 

Introductory Letter, February 2019

Patriotism can be gut-wrenching!

You want to do something for the country, but don’t know how to?

India is being bled through a million cuts. Not all of them are physical. Our cybersecurity is constantly under attack from within the country and outside. As we move on to digitise everything, conventional armies will be replaced by cyber armies and criminals will become cybercriminals.

This got me thinking on the level of preparedness of India as a country against cybercrime, cyber monopolies and the threat of a potential cyber war. I spoke to the industry, the associations, the government, the think-tanks, social networks etc. to put together a database of people who can meaningfully contribute. 

You will be shocked to know that there are less than 1,000 Indians with the requisite skill sets to even comprehend what is required to be done.

Through my research, your name came up as one of those 1,000 Indians, who have both the skill and the ability to contribute; which is less than .0001% of our population.

The question to you then is, would you?

I invite you to participate in a great national security initiative. We have set up a discussion group on cybersecurity with the following objectives:

  • Identify the contours of Indian cybersecurity through the following views:
    • Policy, e.g., national, corporate, individual etc.
    • Verticals, e.g., financial services, homeland security etc.
    • Technology, e.g., AI, Blockchain, IoT
    • Diplomacy and points of multilateral negotiations, e.g., data localisation
  • Having identified and detailed the above document and evolve a coherent, implementable strategy. That can be published as a blue book and periodically updated.

The initiative is being driven by SKOCH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, a not-for-profit company. The details of our Distinguished Fellows & Advisory Board are as follows:

  • Dr N C Saxena, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Secretary, Planning Commission, Government of India
  • Dr M Ramachandran, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Secretary, Urban Development, Government of India
  • Dr Zohra Chatterji, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Secretary, Textiles, Government of India
  • Dr Aruna Sharma, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation, Development Economist & Former Secretary, Steel, Government of India
  • Prof Charan Singh, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Non-Executive Chairman, Punjab and Sind Bank
  • Mr Kishore Sansi, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former MD & CEO, Vijaya Bank
  • Dr Deepali Pant Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India
  • Mr Bhaskar Pramanik, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Chairman, Microsoft India
  • Mr Nirmal Bansal, Senior Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Banker
  • Prof V N Alok, Senior Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration
  • Dr K G Karmakar, Senior Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation & Former Managing Director, NABARD
  • Prof Deepak B Phatak, Director, SKOCH Development Foundation & Professor Emeritus, IIT   Bombay

 A few of the initial members of the Cyber Security Discussion Group are:

  • Mr Sivarama Krishnan, Leader, Cyber Security, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd
  • Mr Ankush Chowdhary, Principal Security Advisor, Asia Pacific Japan, Amazon Web Services
  • Mr Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner, National Head - Technology and BPM Sector, KPMG
  • Mr Rahul Aggarwal, Partner, Cyber Security, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd
  • Mr Gautam Pande, Director, Enterprise Security Solutions-South Asia, Mastercard
  • Mr Jaspreet Singh, Partner – Cyber Security, Africa, India & Middle East (AIM), Ernst & Young
  • Mr C. Muralikrishna Kumar, Senior Adviser - ICT, NITI Aayog, GoI
  • Prof Deepak B Phatak, Director, SKOCH D evelopment Foundation & Professor Emeritus, IIT Bombay
  • Mr Dinesh (Krishna) Pillai, Managing Director, Acquisory Risk Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
  • Dr N Vijayaditya, Former Director General, NIC
  • Ms Pratibha Jain, Partner, Nishith Desai Associates
  • Prof Anjali Kaushik, Professor, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon

Given the time pressures on experts such as yourself, our attempt is to hold most of the discussions remotely through email, calls, online and so on. There may be smaller group discussions held at Delhi, Mumbai etc. to get some face time. Based on these, some of the members may wish to contribute papers and others to critique and make such inputs better. Yet others may contribute to the knowledge repository and share best practices.

As India celebrates the 73rd Independence Day, our efforts would come together as a national consultation on August 17, 2019, at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi entitled “Cyber Patriots Convention”. It will be the biggest gathering of Indian cyber experts.

Based on the papers, discussions and the conference, the first “Indian Cyber Security Doctrine” would be published as a book. 

The relevant stakeholders from the government, policymaking, civil society etc. would be engaged to make our work a meaningful and actionable input.

At this juncture, following questions may come to your mind: 

Q: What do I have to do?
A: Be involved in consultations and discussions. Contribute through inputs or write-ups, if you so desire. 

Q: What is the nature of this involvement?
A: The involvement is purely voluntary without any financial or legal liability. 

Q: How much time do I need to commit?
A: Whatever can fit into your day-to-day schedule, while being patriotically justifiable. Leaving aside paper writing, this may amount to 4-5 man days spread over a one-year time period. 

Q: What is in it for me?
A: Besides the great satisfaction of having served the country, this is a high visibility, high impact exercise where the members will receive national publicity and may even qualify for the prestigious SKOCH Cyber Patriot Award on the basis of the contributions made.

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