Archive for the Current affairs Category

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.

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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.

ACRA brings additional 1000 charges against Data Register Pte Ltd

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has brought a further 1,000 charges against Data Register Pte Ltd (previously known as “Company Register Pte Ltd”) for issuing business correspondence in October and November 2013 which did not state its company name and registration number.

These 1,000 charges are in addition to the earlier 104 charges brought against the company in January 2014. Each breach carries a maximum fine of S$1,000.

From November 2013 to January 2014, ACRA received over 2,000 queries from companies in relation to the correspondence they had received from Data Register Pte Ltd. In those correspondence, Data Register Pte Ltd requested companies to verify their details through its website, failing which their data would be deleted. Many members of the public informed ACRA that Data Register did not state its company name or registration number on its business correspondence and that they had dealt with Data Register thinking it was a government agency.

You can read more about Data Register Pte Ltd (previously known as “Company Register Pte Ltd”) here and here.

SIA passenger billed $1200 for inflight Internet

An SIA passenger has been charged US$1,171.46 for using the inflight Internet on a flight from London to Singapore.

Jeremy Gutsche, a Canadian entrepreneur, purchased the 30MB package for US$28.99 but he busted the 30MB limit. He claimed that he used the internet mainly for work emails between naps and just viewed 155 pages.


His article about his experience has been picked up by several media around the world.

This is not the first time we hear about bill shock although most of the bill shock stories come from data roaming and not inflight internet. But they are mostly the same. User either didn’t sign up for the package or exceed their allocated limits.

SIA offers 2 price plan for their inflight Internet: volume-based at US$9.99 for 10MB and time-base at US$11.95 for 1 hour.

Personally, I think SIA’s price plan is ok. After all, you are accessing Internet at an altitude of 39000 feet. It is unfair to say that SIA is overcharging for their internet.

The problem here lies with the user. Jeremy claims that he only send a 4mb email and view 155 pages. It is unclear what are the file size of the 155 pages. If the file size is small, then I doubt the inflight Internet charge can chalk up to $1200. I guess most likely something is running in the background. Maybe his computer is doing some system update? Or maybe there is a malware in his computer and it is sending data without the owner’s knowledge.

You would assume a CEO of a website would know more about this sort of thing. No use complaining about it after you receive the bill. It is clearly a user error.

Counting the number of pages view is a terrible way to gauge data usage. And you are assuming that’s the only thing that your computer is doing. If you don’t know exactly how much data you will be using, I suggest you subscribe to a time-base package instead.