Singapore to block internet access for government employees at work

There are alternatives for internet access and the work that officers need to do does not change, says official.

Government employees in Singapore will lose their internet access at work from May next year as part of an effort to tighten security of the official information systems.

Overall, some 100,000 computers in use at government establishments will be affected by the new rule.

The government's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said it has already begun the work to disconnect the internet access from the work stations of some public servants as a trial. They will expand the work to all the employees by next June.

A spokesman for the Infocomm Development Authority told The Straits Times, "The Singapore Government regularly reviews our IT measures to make our network more secure."

However, employees can do web surfing on their personal tablets or mobile phones as these devices don't have any access to government e-mail systems. Employees who need internet for work will be provided with dedicated Internet terminals.

"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 Infocomm Development Authority official told CNBC.

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

Aloysius Cheang, Asia-Pacific executive vice-president of global computing security association Cloud Security Alliance told the daily this move harks back to the era when internet access was limited only on dedicated terminals.

"In the past, it was hard for malware to extract sensitive information from within government networks. Now, it is hard to control any leak on social media or file-sharing sites," he said.

This proposed step is being discussed on the social media where people have expressed unhappiness. Many people think that it is an obstacle to their work as internet is a vital part of most work processes.