Singapore government begins restricting public servants’ internet access on work stations

Photo by Associated Press

To make its IT network more secure, the government has begun a programme to restrict public servants’ internet access on work stations, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore said on Wednesday (8 June).

By May 2017, public service officers across all government agencies, ministries and statutory boards will have internet access “separate” from their computers.

“The Singapore Government regularly reviews our IT security to make our IT network more secure.  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,” an IDA spokesperson said in an email response to queries from Yahoo Singapore.

“There are alternatives for internet access and the work that officers need to do, does not change,” the spokesperson added.

Yahoo Singapore understands that public servants can use their personal devices such as phones and laptops to access internet at the workplace. Also, their workstations will remain connected to the government’s private network or intranet, through which they will still be able to send emails outside of the internal network.

The internet access restrictions will affect the daily workflow of public service officers. For example, officers who need to conduct online research will have to do so via a separate laptop, and in situations where officers need to share website links, they will need to copy and paste the links instead of clicking the “share” button directly from the website.