Remember the days when the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) serviceman can use their laptops and tablets only in the business centres in selected camps, and camera-equipped phones in the less-sensitive Green Zones? Well – on March 2016, the ban has been removed.
According to The Straits Times, these servicemen can now use their laptops and tablets in the Green Zones; namely bunks, medical centres and cookhouses. Smartphones can now also be used in Red Zones, but on one condition — the camera must be disabled.
What does this mean?
Simply put, if you want to bring in your camera-equipped phone, you have to remove the lens, grind or sandblast it before stepping into the red zone.
In a brief press release, the Ministry of Defense said: “To provide servicemen with more options to disable their camera-equipped devices, the requirement that cameras can only be removed by telecommunications companies or original equipment manufacturers was also lifted.”
For those of you who might not be familiar with the term Red Zone, it refers to areas where sensitive and classified information is present. Examples of Red Zones include units’ operation rooms and offices with computer access to classified information. Before the new rule, if you want to enter a Red Zone, camera mobile phones must be deposited in lockers. All other areas outside the Red Zone are Green Zone, for example, medical centres, accommodation bunks and cookhouses.
The Straits Times has also reported that the military is carrying out trials on a mobile device management technology that can remotely disable cameras in mobile devices and erase their data.
Kudos on easing up on the rule on allowing tablets and laptops in the Green Zones, but the drastic measure on removing the cameras has left me perplexed. I guess NS men will be better off leaving their smartphones in their lockers.
Featured image credit: MINDEF Singapore