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Securing Singapore: Technology’s Role in National Resilience

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Singapore unveiled its updated Terrorism Financing (TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA) and National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), underscoring the critical role of cutting-edge tech, like AI and analytics, in these efforts. As an international financial, business, and transport hub, Singapore recognises the importance of leveraging advanced technologies to counter the sophisticated and evolving tactics employed by financiers of such activities.

In today’s digital era, Singapore’s comprehensive whole-of-government approach to identifying, monitoring, and mitigating TF risks is heavily reliant on pioneering innovation. These advanced technologies enable real-time analysis and identification of suspicious activities, informed by TF cases within Singapore, international reports, and feedback from foreign counterparts. Engagement and cooperation with the private sector and academia further augment the understanding and management of TF risks, with AI and machine learning playing a pivotal role in these collaborations.

The updated 2024 TF NRA identifies several key TF threats, with a significant focus on the digital domain. Various groups pose substantial threats, exacerbated by potential spillovers from geopolitical conflicts and tensions. While extremism may not gained significant traction in Southeast Asia, other rhetoric, often disseminated through digital platforms, remains a concern.

The 2024 TF NRA identifies the latest TF threats and vulnerable sectors in Singapore since the 2020 assessment. Money remittances remain high-risk, with cross-border online payments as a new TF channel. The banking sector is medium-high risk, with new cross-border fast payment systems identified as potential TF channels. Digital payment token service providers have risen to medium-high risk, reflecting the importance of cryptocurrency and blockchain. Non-profit organisations and cross-border cash movements are medium-low risk, with foreign online crowdfunding and precious metals also noted as concerns.

The 2024 TF NRA backs the updated National Strategy for CFT, launched in 2022. It highlights digital technology’s crucial role in preventing, detecting, and disrupting terrorism financing. Prevention involves deterring bad actors and sympathisers from exploiting Singapore’s digital openness. Detection relies on AI and data analytics to swiftly identify suspicious activities using robust monitoring. Disruption focuses on enforcing measures against raising, moving, and using funds for terrorism, employing digital forensics and cybersecurity.

To achieve these objectives, Singapore will implement a five-pronged National Strategy for CFT. The first prong is coordinated and comprehensive risk identification, utilising AI and big data analytics to ensure a unified approach to identifying and assessing TF risks. The second prong involves strong legal and sanctions frameworks, supported by digital tools for tracking and freezing assets. The third prong entails robust regulatory regimes that impose comprehensive AML/CFT obligations on regulated entities, enhanced by AI-driven compliance monitoring. The fourth prong is decisive enforcement actions, leveraging digital evidence and AI-assisted investigations to prosecute TF cases. The fifth prong focuses on international partnerships and cooperation, collaborating with international organisations and standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), with a shared emphasis on digital strategies and technology transfer.

Singapore will collaborate with industry to implement TF strategies, emphasising digital technology. Partnerships with global counterparts and standards bodies will enhance the financing regime through shared digital advancements. With a coordinated approach and digital innovation, Singapore aims to mitigate TF risks, ensuring financial system security and societal stability.

The 2024 TF NRA and National Strategy for CFT reaffirm Singapore’s dedication to combat terrorism financing with advanced technology. Through vigilant monitoring and a government-wide approach, Singapore is prepared to tackle evolving threats. Collaboration with the private sector, international partners, and the community is crucial to safeguarding Singapore as a secure financial hub in the digital era.


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