In speaking to the press at the sidelines of his official visit to Myanmar, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has defended his Government’s intention to block Internet access for public officers in civil service.
PM Lee admitted that it is a “nuisance” and that “it’s inconvenient”, but said that it was “doable” and that he does not think that it will slow his Government down “in terms of day to day productivity.”
Explaining that he himself has tested the dual-system, the Prime Minister said that the measure was necessary to deal with very sophisticated attacks on the Government’s Internet system, and that the threats have become even more severe in recent times.
PM Lee said that his Government in analysing how to face the challenge of preventing critical data from being stolen, decided that they can either make the system so secure that it becomes a bother to use, or to block Internet completely for its public officers. It chose the latter.
Mr Lee acknowledged that the move may raise the ire of some civil servants, but said that his Government felt that it was a necessary move to protect Singapore’s and Singaporeans’ vital data. He said, “in terms of security, safety of our system, safety of our citizens and information concerning them, it’s absolutely necessary.”
Despite saying that the public service is facing “severe” cyber-threats, Mr Lee or his Government has so far not properly explained what these threats are. He also did not provide any example of such threats which prompted the Government to arrive at their decision.
Commenting on the news in his Facebook, socio-political blogger Andrew Loh asked why the Government is not able to deal with such cyber-threats, as well as future ones. He asked, “what of all those millions and billions spent on infocomm through the years?”
Singapore Democratic Party secretary-general Chee Soon Juan used the Government’s announcement of Internet block for public officers to take a dig at its Smart Nation initiative.
Writing in his Facebook, Dr Chee said, “The PAP controls the media, sues bloggers and arrests activists, removes the Internet from civil servants but wants to build a Smart Nation. It must know something that we all don’t.”Follow us on Social Media
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