Archive for the Current affairs Category

MDA orders The Real Singapore admins to shut down website

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has ordered The Real Singapore (TRS) admins to immediately stop posting articles and disable access to its website and social media accounts. The order was issued on 3 May 2015 afternoon and as of 7:30pm, The Real Singapore website, Facebook page and Twitter account have been closed.

TRSShutDown

It is the first time the MDA has suspended the licence of a site’s editors. Under the Broadcasting Act, the TRS admins could face a fine of up to S$120,000, a jail term of up to 3 years, or both if they do not comply.

——

Personally, I’m having mixed feeling about this. I hate The Real Singapore website. The site is known to publish fake stuff and always sensationalise issues. I should be feeling happy that a cesspool like TRS is finally gone. But something feels wrong here.

How did The Media Development Authority of Singapore have the power to shut down a website? Where are the checks and safeguards? Why isn’t the court involved? What recourse does site owners have if they disagree with MDA’s decision?

I’m not even aware that TRS has a statutory class licence. We do know that some sites were registered under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. However, TRS wasn’t one of them. So who has this statutory class licence? And who gave MDA the power to decide who can or cannot operate a website?

I am against MDA regulating the Internet. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending TRS. But I feel that TRS and its admin should be dealt with by the court. The 2 admins are already charged with seven counts of publishing seditious articles. Since the court is dealing with them, why is MDA shutting down the site now?

And most importantly, what is stopping MDA from abusing its power in the future? MDA can also do this to other sites like The Online Citizen in the future. Without proper check and balance, the same power can be used to restrict our freedom of speech.

Ironically, today is World Press Freedom Day.

Facebook to match donations to Nepal relief efforts

By now you should have heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal near the capital of Kathmandu on April 25th. More than 2,000 people have died across the region, including in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and thousands more were injured.

Facebook is asking its users to donate to the International Medical Corps. User of the social media network will see a message at the top of their News Feed with an option to donate.

FBdonate

Facebook will match every dollar donated up to $2 million. Facebook’s matching funds will be distributed to local relief and rescue organizations working to provide immediate and ongoing relief. Visit facebook.com/nepalearthquakesupport for more information.

Besides asking for donations, Facebook has also activated its Safety Check feature. Safety Check is a simple and easy tool to inform your Facebook friends that you are safe. Millions of people have been marked safe and tens of millions of people were notified that someone they know has been marked safe.

Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop

Saw this Ted Talk video by Monica Lewinsky on Youtube. I think it is a timely video and would be great if you could spare 22 minutes to listen to what she is sharing.

Watching this video made me think about things that happened in Singapore over the past few months. Like the US and UK, we are seeing a rise in cyberbullying and online harassment. Publishing private and confidential details about someone online and making death threats are getting more and more common these days. We are lucky that none of the victims committed suicide yet. But it is time for us to put a stop to all these negative online behaviour before it is too late.

Cruelty to others is nothing new, but online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained, and permanently accessible. The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community, but now it’s the online community too. Millions of people, often anonymously, can stab you with their words, and that’s a lot of pain, and there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade. There is a very personal price to public humiliation, and the growth of the Internet has jacked up that price.

We are often encouraging these cyberbullying and online harassment without knowing. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry. All these while when we are clicking and sharing these content, someone is benefitting from someone else’s suffering. Either through monetary gain from advertising or just raise in fame. And the more we click, the more it encourages others to join in.

The more we saturate our culture with public shaming, the more accepted it is, the more we will see behavior like cyberbullying, trolling, some forms of hacking, and online harassment.

We don’t have organisation like Tyler Clementi Foundation or Anti-Bullying Pro here in Singapore. Personally I hope that we won’t need to have one. Let’s put a stop to all the cyberbullying and online harassment. Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop now before it is too late.

Singapore launched Cyber Security Agency

An agency dedicated for national cyber security was setup on Wednesday (1 April 2015). The Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Communications and Information and reports to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The agency will provide dedicated and centralised oversight of Singapore’s national cyber security functions, and focuses on engagement and partnership to ensure the holistic development of Singapore’s cyber security landscape. It take over the functions of the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (SITSA) and some roles of IDA.

The CSA will be in charge of strengthening cyber security in critical sectors such as energy, water and banking. It will develop a robust cyber security ecosysteml, nurture ties with local and global industry and thought leaders and increase cyber security awareness through public outreach programmes. The agency will also ensure effective coordination in response to cyber threats.

With network security firm FireEye launching a new operations center in Singapore in February and Boeing setting up its cybersecurity center here next month, it seems like we are going to become a hub for cybersecurity soon.

Last day to drink legally in public after 10:30pm

Yesterday was the last day to drink legally in public after 10:30pm in Singapore. The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill kicks in on 1st April 2015 and it prohibits drinking in public places such as void decks, parks and on the streets from 10.30pm to 7am. Retail sales of alcohol from 10:30pm will also be banned.

Photo 31-3-15 11 29 15 pm

So on my way home last night, I decided to pop by 7-11 and grab a bottle of cider. I forgotten when was the last time I drank in public place. As I grow older, I find myself drinking only at places that serve alcohol or a my friend’s house. So to be frank, the new law does not affect me at all. But I’m just sick of this overregulation. Why can’t I have a drink in public places after 10:30pm if I don’t disturb anyone? The law should be targeting at people who create trouble after drinking, not people who are drinking in public.

Just because you have some people creating a mess after having a few drinks doesn’t mean that everyone will do that.