Fearing hackers and whistleblowers, the Singapore government is blocking internet access to all work computers for civil servants. According to state media The Straits Times, a high-level “memo” ordered that the internet ban will be effective from May 2017 onwards.
Some 100,000 computers used by the public service will see their internet banned, although personal mobile devices would remain unrestricted. When contacted by the press, the Singapore Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said: “The Singapore Government regularly reviews our IT measures to make our network more secure.”
It is understood that IDA conducted an internet-ban trial session in April. However a dedicated internet terminal would be provided for civil servants to forward work emails to their private accounts when necessary.
Governments around the world have been embarrassed by recent high-profile IT security breaches like Edward Snowden’s NSA leak, Wikileaks and Panama Papers. Given it’s increasing unpopularity, the Singapore government could not afford losing more votes to whistleblowers and hackers.
Most companies in the private sector however ban internet access for productivity. Many Singapore employers ban social media sites like Facebook and Youtube so employees will not use them for leisure.