Internet blockade at odds with Smart Nation push

A man types on a keyboard in this photo illustration. PHOTO: REUTERS

While I may not be a public servant, I am deeply concerned about the implications of public servants losing Internet access on their work computers ("Public servants' computers to have no Net access"; yesterday).

Even though such a decision is totally understandable from a security standpoint, it may well lead to losses in terms of productivity and costs.

Public servants may have to spend more time retrieving information that they require for their work from the Internet and transferring such information to computers that are not connected to the Internet.

Public servants may also no longer enjoy the myriad benefits of cloud computing.

Furthermore, countless man-hours will have to be spent determining which public servants need Internet access, and financial costs may be incurred to bring in computers with Internet access and build secure Intranets to ensure that public servants continue to have access to information while at work.

Restricting public servants' access to the Internet also seems to be at odds with the Government's Smart Nation initiative.

Perhaps a less drastic solution, such as restricting the blockade to a select group of public servants who handle sensitive information or increasing investments in the cyber security capabilities of the public service, could be found to address this problem.

This would be in keeping with the Smart Nation initiative that the Government has taken pains to promote.

Dennis Chan Hoi Yim

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline Internet blockade at odds with Smart Nation push. Subscribe