Civil servants in chaos as government chose to severely limit use of internet on work floor.

PHILIPSBURG:— Civil servants working for several government departments began holding their heads and screaming out loud “what is next” after they received a memo informing them that government has taken the decision to limit the use of internet in order to protect the government network (IT infrastructure).

Based on a “MEMO” sent from the Ministry of General Affairs the heads of departments and secretary generals need to send a list of all the sites each individual civil servant needs for their working purposes. This information has to be submitted to the head of ICT Michael Dijkhoffz and he will evaluate whether or not the sites submitted to him will be whitelisted. Not all civil servants will have access to the internet, which is a decision that will be taken by the department head. Already the ICT department is severely understaffed and can hardly handle day to day operations and troubleshooting. Some department heads contacted SMN News stating that they sometimes have to wait for weeks for the ICT department to fix minor problems in their departments.

The question remains how one person is then going to deal with all the possible lists coming in and based on which criteria a site will be whitelisted.
The department of legal affairs is now in shambles because they are unable to access sites with laws to grant Ministers proper advice, other departments that are heavily hindered such as CPS, and the Inspectorate. At this moment residents of St. Maarten will be at risk because the food safety departments within the Inspectorate are unable to monitor recalls on food items that might be contaminated. The decision was taken on Monday basically paralyzes the functioning of many departments.

Even news sites are now blocked therefore, civil servants cannot even access the news. While this measure has been taken by the ICT department it is basically a shortcut instead of focusing on real solutions to the problems. Cyber security is a worldwide problem since viruses can enter networks several ways other than visiting websites. Viewing emails from from untrusted sources may have viruses. Malware may also be brought into the network via USB devices.

SMN News further understands that while the ICT department does not have the required staff, tools and equipment to properly protect government network, a well-placed source within the department told SMN News that government is not even paying for certain software licenses which caused them to be blocked all of which are not only hindering the operations of government but also possess a security risk. It is a known factor that if software licenses are not paid for then the users are blocked. Software and infrastructure also have to be upgraded and this has not happened for some years. The ICT department needs equipment which they are unable to get.

While it is known that many civil servants live on the social media such as Facebook there are several other ways to secure government’s network.

Click here to view the memo that was sent out on Monday to Department Heads and Secretary Generals.

Source: St. Martin News Network
Civil servants in chaos as government chose to severely limit use of internet on work floor.