Archive for May 2013

MDA to regulate online news sites with significant reach

From June 1, websites that report Singapore news and have significant reach will require individual licences from Media Development Authority (MDA) to operate.

Under the new licensing framework announced today, online news sites will be individually licensed if they report an average of at least one article per week on Singapore’s news and current affairs over a period of two months, and are visited by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from Singapore each month over a period of two months. When MDA has assessed that a site has met the criteria to be individually licensed, MDA will issue a formal notification and work with the site to move it to the new licensing framework.

Once an online news site is deemed by MDA to have met the criteria, it will be required to put up a performance bond of $50,000 like all other individually-licensed broadcasters. According to MDA, the new Licence provides greater clarity on prevailing requirements within the Class Licence and Internet Code of Practice. The Licence makes it clear that online news sites are expected to comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards like content that is “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”.

Currently, there are 10 news sites that are deemed by MDA to have met the criteria. The 10 sites are: Asiaone.com, Businesstimes.com.sg, Channelnewsasia.com, Omy.sg, Sg.news.yahoo.com, Stomp.com.sg, Straitstimes.com, Tnp.sg, Todayonline.com, Zaobao.com

Currently, all the sites that are affected by this new licensing framework are from SPH, MediaCorp and Yahoo. But nothing is stopping MDA from adding sites like TheOnlineCitizen, Publichouse, Yawning Bread or any blogger with significant reach. 50k unique IP address per month isn’t difficult to reach. I’m worried that this will further restrict the freedom of speech in Singapore.

This whole thing seems like a badly written framework that is implemented without consulting the public. And the new licensing framework leave many questions unanswered.

1) What if a site is deemed by MDA to have met the criteria but couldn’t pay the $50,000 bond? Does that mean the site need to be shut down or stop reporting Singapore news?

2) What if a news website refuse to comply? What are the penalties? Will these sites be blocked by local ISP?

3) What about websites/blogs hosted on server outside Singapore? Can MDA regulate these sites?

4) What about Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter account with more than 50,000 reach? Will these be regulated?

5) What about foreign news sites like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera etc etc? I’m pretty sure some of them meets the criteria too. What if they refuse to pay the $50,000 bond?

6) And most importantly, what is MDA’s definition of content that is “against public interest, public order, public security, national harmony, public morality”?

Update: According to Reuters, MDA said that the new regulation did not apply to blogs, though adding: “If they take on the nature of news sites, we will take a closer look and evaluate them accordingly”.

Microsoft Surface Pro available in Singapore from 3 June 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro will be available in Singapore from 3 June 2013 at S$1,198 and S$1,328 for 64GB and 128GB respectively.

SurfacePro1

Unlike the Surface RT, Surface Pro is comparable to a full-blown Windows laptop with Intel Core i5 chip inside. This means that the Surface Pro can run Windows program as well as apps meant for the Modern UI. Surface Pro can do virtually everything that a PC can do, ranging from running desktop applications to world-class safety and security software. It’s like a fully functional PC that looks, feels and acts like a tablet.

SurfacePro2

The Surface Pro will be available at selected Challenger, Harvey Norman and Newstead stores, and will also be making an appearance at the PC Show 2013, which will be held at Singapore Expo from 6 to 9 June 2013.

By the way, Microsoft also announced that Magenta and Red touch covers will be available in Singapore from 3 June at $168. But I personally prefer the Type Cover which cost $15 more.

Top 7 Cybersecurity Myths

Here’s an interesting infographic from the good folks at Symantec.

One common belief is that if you don’t visit risky sites (like porn or illegal download sites), your computer is less likely to get infected. This is actually not true. Maybe it is true in the past. But hackers are smarter nowadays. 61% of malicious sites are actually legitimate websites that have been compromised and infected with malicious codes.

CyberSecurityMyths

It’s pronounced “JIF” not “GIF”

It’s time we put an end to this debate. How do you pronounce Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)? Some says it is pronounced with a hard ‘G’, like “GIF”. Other says it is pronounced with a soft ‘G’, like “JIF”.

Well, it is pronounced with a soft ‘G’. Yes folks, it is pronounced as “JIF”. Why? Because the inventor of GIF, Steve Wilhite, said so. And I think it is fair to say that if you are the inventor of a popular image file format, you have the rights to say how to pronounce it. He even use a GIF to remind us it is pronounced as “JIF” when accepting the lifetime achievement award at The Webby Awards recently.

Get it? It’s pronounced as “JIF”. End of debate. Sorry White House, you are wrong this time.

jif

DBS Marina Regatta Phoneography Awards

DBS Marina Regatta 2013 came to a close last Saturday after two weekends of exciting program.

On the last day of the Marina Regatta, DBS hosted Singapore’s first phoneography awards. More than 2,000 photos and videos were uploaded over the past two weekends using the hashtag #DBSMarinaRegatta2013. Winners from the various categories are:

Best Vine video – @anna-hamill

Most vibrant shot of the festival@tiakchoon

Most vibrant shot of the festival

Most inclusive shot of social enterprises@mrupupup

Most inclusive shot of social enterprises

Most sporting shot of the races@lioneldude

Most sporting shot of the races

Best effects@xiaodiwong

Best effects

Most emotive portrayal of participants@dk99

Most emotive portrayal of participants

Hmmm…. the last winner’s Instagram userid look very familiar hor?