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Singapore Is Taking Internet Access Away From Its Public Servants

June 8, 2016, 4:15 PM UTC
A man surfs the internet in Beijing on J
A man surfs the internet in Beijing on June 15, 2009. The designers of controversial Internet filtering software that China has ordered shipped with all new computers said they were trying to fix security glitches in the programme in the latest blow to the plan to include the filtering software with all PCs sold in China from July 1, which has been criticised overseas and even in China as a bid at mass censorship and a threat to personal privacy. Researchers at the University of Michigan who examined the software last week said it contained serious security vulnerabilities that could allow outside parties to take control of computers running it via remote access. Chinese authorities have a history of blocking sites that feature porn or politically unacceptable subjects such as the brutal crackdown on Tiananmen pro-democracy protests in 1989 and the banned spiritual group Falungong. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo by Frederic J. Brown—AFP via Getty Images

As of May 2017, public servants working for the government of Singapore will no longer be able to use the Internet for work.

There are about 100,000 computers currently in use by Singapore’s government employees, the Straits Times reports, and by next year none of them will have Net access. This unprecedented move is intended to increase security amid heightened security threats. Specifically, it’s meant to help prevent leaks from email accounts and shared documents.

These new restrictions will apply to all government agencies, ministries, and statutory boards. The statutory board at the head of this transition, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), explained to the Times, “The Singapore government regularly reviews our IT measures to make our network more secure.”

Some people are nervous about the strict computer use policies since the Internet is essential to the way some people currently perform their jobs. One teacher told the Times that he relies on it to create worksheets and tests.

 

The IDA has been testing this out since April. Employees are able to access the Internet from their personal devices, which aren’t linked to potentially sensitive email accounts and documents, though they can forward work emails to their own phones, tablets, and computers. Certain employees have access to dedicated Internet terminals.