Canadian Government To Tighten Online Surveillance Of Civil Servants

Online gambling is on the list of inappropriate websites to be blocked

According to a report Wednesday in the Toronto Star, the Canadian government's IT division Shared Services Canada is shopping around for a new "unified threat management" program to combat civil servants accessing inappropriate websites – including online gambling operations – during working hours.
The specifications for the new platform include "…everything from pinpointing individual Internet usage, to preventing malicious actors from intruding on government networks, to blocking pornography and online gaming sites."
The Star picked up the IT division's shopping list from a government procurement website, which explained that the government needs a single multi-role platform to guard against intrusions and ensure greater efficiency and productivity.
The UTM platform should be capable of providing "firewalls,virus scanning, intrusion detection, web filtering, and virtual private networking to allow secure connections for public servants working remotely."
It must also have a capability to monitor government networks in real-time, from individual web traffic to department-wide analysis, covering employees working from home to major public offices in the capital.
One of the goals of the IT division is also to stop civil servants from accessing a range of unsuitable websites in the first place. The list of such websites includes pornography or sex sites, content spouting hatred or "racism, illegal sites, sites promoting violence, online gambling, Internet games, sites known to distribute malware, shopping sites, as well as the generic "sports."
Websites that might include encryption tools or mask web traffic are also to be denied civil servants through filtering, and use of social media sites will be restricted – especially as regards social gaming elements.
Intriguingly, the list includes news sites, although specifics are not given.
The government's IT professionals are also hoping to have better tools to combat Distributed Denial of Services attacks. Shared Services Canada hopes that the proposed security platform could help prevent future DDoS attacks by identifying the unique communication patterns botnets produce. The platform is also expected to detect and prevent damage from malware downloaded through emails or from Internet sites.
Approached by the newspaper, Shared Services Canada issued a comment explaining that security programs were nearing the end of their lifespan, and a new platform was needed.
"UTM solutions will provide multiple security functions within one system, hence furthering our standardization and consolidation mandate while ensuring the government gets the best value for money," the department's communications team wrote.

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