A new Wi-Fi service that will be available across all of government will be rolled out next year by the Government Digital Service (GDS).
The new service, dubbed GovWifi, should be available early next year, and will enable government employees, contractors and registered guests to connect automatically when entering any government building. The service, which is currently in beta, consists of a cloud-based authentication service and public key infrastructure (PKI) which will effectively unify the Wi-Fi services deployed in individual government buildings.
GDS provides a list of requirements that local infrastructure will need to adhere to if it is to use GovWifi, including servers that use the open standard RADIUS protocol (which provides the centralised authentication, authorisation and accounting on a network) and an internet firewall configured to allow RADIUS to connect to the GovWifi authentication servers.
End users of the service will need to agree with a number of conditions, including that GDS can store connection details such as email address, phone number and authentication attempts. In return, they will be provided with unique credentials and encryption keys to allow them to login to the Wi-Fi and access the internet. Instructions are provided for configuring devices running Windows, Android, IOS, and ChromeOS.
Among the security measures being put in place by GDS are randomising the generation of the authentication credentials, so they can't be used to access other systems if stolen, and device isolation to impede the spread of malware, should a smartphone or notebook become compromised. In some organisations users will be required to use a VPN in order to log in. The network also identifies itself in a way that can't be spoofed, according to GDS.
The remit of GDS is to help government departments work together with the use of technology. Currently headed by Kevin Cunnington it has recently undergone a number of staffing changes, amid rumours that departments have been seeking to limit its powers or even break it up.
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