COVID-19: telework risky for the officials in quebec

Of the superiors of the government of Quebec have allowed officials to use their personal computer to work at home during the pandemic, even if it is banned in normal time and risky for the security of the information.

Our Bureau of investigation has learned that, due to the lack of equipment, staff of the departments and agencies have received permission to work from home using their own computer and on a home network.

A virtual private network (VPN) government has even been installed on the home computers, with the approval of their superiors.

This lack of computer hardware in place and the government from embarrassment.

The rules of the treasury indicate, for a question of security, and that public servants should not use their appliances to perform telework.

Instructions government

The treasury Board has sent Monday a letter to the leaders of the departments and agencies to ensure that telework is preferred.

“Telework should be a privileged for the greatest number of employees possible,” said on Twitter the president of the treasury Board, Christian Dubé.

This news was expected on the part of many officials concerned had still not received news of their managers. The missive indicates that each leader is responsible for the authorization. They must assess whether the measure is applicable, and, depending on the tasks and the availability of technological tools. Several officials, however, refuse to telecommute.

The Secretariat to the treasury Board said that they had computers for its own officials. However, it does not have the information for the government as a whole, for each department and agency maintains its own recovery plan and its computer hardware.

In this time of taxes, Revenu Québec ensures that have put measures in place to contribute to the efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19. Telework is now allowed, and as in the other departments, analyses are underway for people who do not have the equipment nor the required access.

Household hazards

Cities, such as Quebec, have also confirmed to our Office of investigation, that employees who telework in the context of the pandemic using household appliances. The computer security expert Steve Waterhouse explains that the risks associated with the use of computer tools in domestic service are very high.

“We have to hurry up, but home networks are not as secure as networks in work environments,” said the ex-manager of IT infrastructure at department of national Defence. Thus, the risks for the data of Quebecers will increase.

According to him, all levels of government were not ready technologically to cope with this pandemic.

– With the collaboration of Marc-André Gagnon, parliamentary Bureau

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