Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Singapore Government Bans Internet

It sounds unreal, but it is real. Fortunately, it isn’t for the general populace. The Singapore government will ban the Internet from computers officially used by public servants from May next year. This will affect some 100,000 computers used in the public service. It’s part of the government’s move to tighten security, and it will take a lot of getting used to.

For most people, the Internet is part of everyday life, and it is often also greatly depended upon at work. Clearly, the government has got to make some exceptions. They have said that dedicated Internet terminals will be given to those who need it for work, and public servants will be allowed to forward work e-mails to their private accounts, if they need to.

But this is the modern age of the Internet. However hard you try to block the Internet, people will find a way. I’m not sure how successful the government is going to be.

I personally would have thought that education would be more effective, or at least worth a shot. Unless, that’s already be tried and flopped. I can appreciate how some people just couldn’t care less about security.

On the other hand, coming down so hard-handed might not work very well either. People will find a way. I can’t imagine the government working like, say, a military organisation. Would they be able to threaten public servants with very severe punitive action such as jail-time for flouting Internet access rules?

It’s really ironic now that the military is recognising the pervasiveness of mobile Internet devices and making adjustments to accommodate them in their organisation. Then, the Singapore government is coming from the opposite. New action to make more secure, yes, but question is, will it achieve greater security?

5 thoughts on “Singapore Government Bans Internet

  1. Hahaha basically govt IT depts will block data traffic from/to external internet, but allow internal govt network. So you can still send/receive emails from other ministries, or access other ministries’ or common govt websites or applications. But you won’t be able to access Google or Wikipedia or Hotmail.

    This is similar to before 1997 in civil service when I started working. In those early years of WWW, we bypass by installing our own proxy server routing the data thru obscure unused ports. We used it mainly for emails, searching for coding examples, IT advice from Microsoft/Oracle/Novell (remember this network company??), reading ST & BT online (completely free in those days), and FISH (great grandfather of Shareinvestor.com).

    Actually for some ministries, they have all along till today blocked access to Internet. Each dept has 1 common PC in open area that is given access to Internet. Of course no staff will sit there for long, surfing for fun.

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