Smart Nation, No Internet = Not So Smart Public Service. We have some questions for the government.

According to the Straits Times, all 100,000 computers used by public servants in Singapore will be cut off from the Internet from May 2016 in a move to tighten security. The move is reportedly aimed at “plugging potential leaks from work email and shared documents amid heightened security threats.”

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It seems that dedicated internet terminals will be issued to public servants who require internet access for work. Else, internet surfing can only be done on personal devices that do not have access to government e-mail systems.

It also appears that ST scooped the government – ST learnt that “a memo is going out to all government agencies…”, which means that the memo has not been sent yet.

We have some questions for the government:

1) Why such a drastic measure? Were there prior severe cyber-attacks that necessitated this move?

This seems to be a kneejerk reaction. Perhaps the government should educate the public on the cyber threats faced by Singapore. If you want the public to understand why you are doing something, you better communicate your policy properly.

2) How much will be spent on procuring additional internet laptops to facilitate this policy?

If half of those who currently have work laptops (currently around 100,000 according to ST) need a second machine to let them do their jobs, it would cost the government approximately 50 million dollars (assuming if one laptop costs around 1k).

Laptop and IT service providers to the government are probably smiling their way to the bank.

3) Smart Nation, Not So Smart Public Service?

With the government making such a big push for the Smart Nation project, doesn’t this policy contradict their message since the public service is going back to the stone ages?

4) Most importantly, how will public services be affected, and will there be an adverse impact to public service efficiency?

This will surely cause more inconvenience to the day-to- day work of public servants. The question is, by how much?

Will it now take more than the standard three working to five working days for government officials to get back to the public? Hur hur.

Colleagues in the public service sector. We feel you <3 <3 <3

  
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