Public Servants in Singapore will Lose Internet at Work

Hi folks!

Public servants in Singapore will be denied internet on work computers from May next year. The reason given is the risk of sending out work emails and shared documents.

Officials have said that employees across government will be barred from forwarding any work-related information to personal emails.

Online reactions and comments show that Singaporeans have responded with shock while some believed that this move contradicted Singapore’s much-promoted Smart Nation technology initiative.

The restrictions will be rolled out over one year to all 100,000 public servant computers.

A memo has been sent to all government agencies, ministries and statutory boards announcing the restrictions.

According to the agency in charge of the change, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), this move is to guard against cyber-attacks and create a “more secure working environment”.

An IDA spokesperson said, “We have started to separate internet access from the work stations of a selected group of public service officers, and will do so for the rest of the public service officers progressively over a one-year period.”

It will eventually apply to all 100,000 public service computers.

Some speculate if a particular cyber-attack led to this decision, yet the officials would not say so. Previously Singapore faced several cyber-attacks including Anonymous group hacking the prime minister’s official website in 2013.

Is this going to be any more secure because employees will still have email and will have access to the web through their personal devices and there will be dedicated internet terminals. It would encourage employees to work more on their personal devices which are less secure.

But the IDA spokesperson said that forwarding work emails would be prohibited. However forwarding non-work emails to private accounts is allowed.

This doesn’t happen in many places and is a very rare move for a government to make.

Sometimes banks limit internet access to employees, keeping it to client-facing staff only. Or they limit access to certain websites that may be harmful. In some companies, file sharing is restricted to prevent employees from accidentally downloading malware.

What do you think about this move?

Source: Akati

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