Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Singapore Government setting up Committee to study the problem of deliberate online falsehoods

Singapore Government setting up Committee to study the problem of deliberate online falsehoods

The Singapore Government is asking the Parliament to appoint a Select Committee to study the problem of deliberate online falsehoods and to recommend how Singapore should respond. Minister for Law, Mr. K. Shanmugam, delivered the motion speech in the Parliament today. (Select Committees are committees of MPs which are created by Parliament. This particular Committee will have 8 Govt MPs, 1 Opposition MP and 1 Nominated Member of Parliament.)

The Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Law issued a Green Paper on January 8, titled “Deliberate Online Falsehoods: Challenges and Implications”, setting out the reasons for appointing the Select Committee.

The Paper notes that falsehoods are being deliberately spread online, to attack public institutions and individuals, with the aim of sowing discord amongst racial and religious communities, exploiting fault-lines, undermining public institutions, interfering in elections and other democratic processes, and weakening countries.

While digital technologies have been extremely positive enablers, for example, allowing people to connect, receive and share information with others from all around the world, these technologies have also been abused.

For instance, bots are being used to spread spam and online falsehoods on social media networks. Through sheer volume, they can create a false impression of public support for, or relevance to, a particular story or movement.

Falsehoods can also spread through search engines, email chains, direct links to websites and instant messaging. The paper cites an article by a journalism Professor and researcher suggesting that during the 2016 United States (US) Presidential Election, 40% of web traffic for false and “hyper-biased” news on websites carrying online falsehoods actually came through technologies other than social media (direct website visits, P2P shares, text/instant messaging, subscription e-newsletters, RSS, and search engines).

Various strategies have been used to help online falsehoods gain traction, such as co-ordinated re-posting and exploiting existing racial, religious or political rifts in society through Facebook pages/ groups.

Another strategy adopted by the miscreants has been to share as many conflicting messages as possible. This is to try and get people to conclude that there are so many different interpretations of events, that it is not possible to determine the truth.

Governments, experts and the media have identified two types of actors: private individuals and entities, and foreign State actors. While state actors appear to have wanted to engineer specific outcomes in elections, and referenda, private actors seem to have been more motivated by financial considerations. Posts or news articles with sensational and shocking headlines and with little or no factual basis were circulated for views and clicks.

Such incidents affect democratic processes and governance. They can also erode trust and cohesion in a society.

The paper goes through a long list of such examples from the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Indonesia and takes note of steps being taken by some countries and technology companies to address the problem.

According to the paper, Singapore is both an attractive target, and highly susceptible to the deliberate spread of online falsehoods. Because it is one of the most open and globally connected countries in the world. More goods, services, finance, people, and data flow into and through Singapore than most countries.

Moreover, Singaporeans are well connected to the rest of the world, including through the latest digital technology. Most Singaporeans – 91% of Singaporean households and 84% of Singaporeans – have Internet access. Majority, 53% of Singaporeans, get their main source of news online (including through social media). Singapore is also a multi-lingual society and is therefore open to messages targeted at particular segments of society, by using specific languages and channels. Singapore is also a vulnerable target because it is a multi-racial and one of the most religiously diverse societies in the world.

Singapore has strict rules against foreign interference in its politics and the paper says that the same rules should apply to cyberspace.

Based on the above, the Committee will study the phenomenon of using digital technology to deliberately spread falsehoods online; motivations and reasons for the spreading of such falsehoods, and the types of individuals and entities, both local and foreign, which engage in such activity; the consequences on Singapore society, and how Singapore can prevent and combat online falsehoods, including guiding principles for the response and specific measures, such as legislation.

The public will be invited to make submissions to the Select Committee on these issues. The Select Committee can also hold public hearings, to engage in-depth with witnesses on key issues. The Committee will report to the Parliament with its recommendations after considering the evidence. The recommendations will be made public.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com