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Wapda bans smartphones in offices citing security risks

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  • Middle, lower-level management banned to carry smartphones. 
  • Only officers of rank of general manager, above would be allowed. 
  • Many employees strongly object to imposing ban on phones. 

LAHORE: The Water & Power Development Authority (Wapda) has decided to beef up security measures by banning middle and lower-level management to carry smartphones in offices citing potential breaches of sensitive data, The News reported Monday. 

In view of the prevalent security situation, and threat alerts, the secretary of the state power utility issued a notification on April 14 saying that the officers of the rank of general manager and above, would only be allowed to carry smartphones (Android/ OS) inside office premises.

The general manager (security) has been tasked with ensuring the implementation of the instructions in letter and spirit. The employees have been asked not to bring smartphones from today (Monday).

Any violation would be liable to be proceeded under Wapda Efficiency & Discipline (E&D) Rules 1978, as per the notification. 

However, officers posted in the Public Relations Department, Protocol Department, Security Department and Wapda Secretariat would be exempted from this office order. 

As per another circular, the authority has taken a serious view of the fact that official documents are frequently being shared on different social media platforms. 

All general managers must ensure the employees under their administrative control refrain from any such activity in the future, it said, adding any deviation from the instructions shall lead to proceedings under relevant conduct and cyber laws.

Meanwhile, many employees strongly objected to imposing a ban on carrying/using smartphones at the workplace. They called it an autocratic as well as ridiculous decision by the management, terming it a foolish act.

However, according to the management, the step is indispensable to ensuring enterprise security and employee productivity. 

The step was direly needed to check possible breaches of sensitive data, intentionally or not, via smartphone cameras and microphones, an official said. 

“So some sort of regulation on the use of smartphones is a step in the right direction as a smartphone can be used for capturing photos, videos and audio of sensitive information,” he added.

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