SINGAPORE (Web Desk) – From next year, public servants in Singapore will be blocked from accessing the internet at work (using office computers) in a move aimed at preventing “potential leaks from work e-mails and shared documents amid heightened security threats”.
Officials said employees across the government would also be barred from forwarding any work-related information to personal emails, the Straits Times newspaper said.
However, employees will still have email and be able to access the web on their personal devices, for which there will be dedicated internet terminals.
Singaporeans have responded to the move with shock and skepticism. Some people thought it contradicted Singapore’s much-promoted Smart Nation technology initiative.
Others felt that the measure could also unfairly apply to public school teachers, who do not deal with much sensitive information.
An IDA spokesperson told the BBC: “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.”
It will eventually apply to all 100,000 public service computers.
File sharing is often restricted in companies for security reasons, as employees may accidentally download malware from websites or share sensitive information online.
Like many other countries, Singapore has had previous incidents of cyber attacks, including the Anonymous group’s hacking of the prime minister’s official website in 2013.