In November 2019 the Government launched the National AI strategy under the remit of the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office to set the national agenda for AI, and to partner with the research community and industry to implement the National AI Strategy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the capability to simulate intelligent, human-like behaviour in computers. As a general-purpose technology, AI has applicability in any field, ranging from cancer diagnosis to urban planning and fraud detection. It has the potential to offer breakthrough solutions that are incomparably better than existing approaches.
The Smart Nation Office stated that “the rise of applicable, deployable AI represents a golden opportunity for Singapore to open new frontiers of growth and transcend our geographical limits. For the nation, AI should transform national level planning and significantly raise the quality of public goods like transport, education and healthcare.”
Government Recognises Need for AI Governance Framework and National Strategy to Harness Benefits of AI
The Singapore government has recognised the need for a national strategy and is completely invested to fully harness the benefits of AI. The strategy identifies areas to focus attention and resources at a national level, lays out plans on how Government, companies, and researchers can work together to realise positive impact from AI and addresses areas where attention is needed to manage change and manage new forms of risks that arise when AI becomes more pervasive.
The Singapore government has just recently updated its AI governance framework to improve its relevance and usability for organisations that are implementing AI which was announced at the World Economic Forum as reported by OpenGov last week.
Since its introduction, the framework has been adopted by more than 15 international and local organisations and institutions such as DBS, HSBC, Mastercard, Visa and Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran, said the fact that international organisations have adopted the framework demonstrates its value in providing practical guidelines on how AI can be implemented while maintaining the trust of clients and customers.
This just highlights how the Singapore Government is making pioneering efforts to implement AI as solutions to everyday challenges for the nation as well as leading AI governance internationally.
Here is a summary of the 5 National AI Projects which address key national challenges for Singapore in transport and logistics, smart cities and estates, healthcare, education, and safety and security.
The Initial 5 National AI Projects Are:
- Intelligent Freight Planning – to optimise the movement of freight to improve productivity for businesses and traffic efficiency.
- Seamless and Efficient Municipal Services – to make municipal services more responsive, reliable and timely
- Chronic Disease Prediction and Management – to help prevent and better manage chronic diseases.
- Personalised Education through Adaptive Learning and Assessment – to help teachers to better customise and improve the learning experience for every student.
- Border Clearance Operations – to strengthen border security while improving traveller-experience.
Intelligent Freight Planning
AI could also be deployed to help companies better plan the routing and scheduling of their trucks to our ports and container depots, which will help to reduce waiting times and localised traffic congestion. This will enable companies to improve business margins and strengthen their business competitiveness. It will also create better and higher value-added jobs for workers in the industry.
AI-enabled planning and modelling for better urban planning. Data collected will also enable the Government to conduct data-driven policy reviews and do better urban planning to improve the overall efficiency of Singapore’s logistics ecosystem.
“We aim to create a freight movement ecosystem where key parties leverage AI to share information and collaborate in an integrated manner, to enable more efficient freight and truck movement across Singapore.”
Seamless and Efficient Municipal Services
Residents can report issues without the need to worry about which agency to report their feedback to, or how to describe the issue. An AI-powered chatbot can guide them along and get to the heart of the issue.
The National AI office has said “AI can help us better understand how our residents, their families and the community are using various neighbourhood facilities. With this knowledge, we can then work towards the planning and building of facilities that best serve residents’ needs”
The government will introduce an AI-powered chatbot to guide residents when they report an issue. The chatbot will identify the correct agency to direct the issue to. It will also prompt residents for mandatory case details in real-time, thereby minimising the need for agencies to call them back for additional case information.
Chronic Disease Prediction and Management
AI can be used to analyse clinical data, medical images, health behaviours and genomic data to create a personalised risk score for individuals. This score can help individuals to take appropriate preventive measures as well as receive earlier and more targeted interventions from their care teams.
The first step the government will take is to will deploy the Singapore Eye LEsioN Analyser (SELENA+), which analyses retinal photographs using a Deep Learning System to detect 3 major eye conditions: diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. SELENA+ can analyse retinal photographs as accurately and faster than human graders. SELENA+’s capabilities in analysing retinal images will also be extended to develop a predictive risk assessment model for cardiovascular disease.
Personalised Education Through Adaptive Learning And Assessment
The governments aim is to leverage AI through the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS), an online learning platform for all students and teachers in the national school system, launched in May 2018.
Students’ learning experiences with the SLS will be enhanced by an AI-enabled Adaptive Learning System. The adaptive learning system will use machine learning to enable it to tell how each student responds to learning materials and activities, and to recommend a step-by-step pathway customised for each learner.
Teachers will be able to assess students’ work more efficiently and effectively with an AI-enabled Automated Marking System. The automated marking system will be able to assess open-ended student responses such as short-answer response questions and essays and provide quick feedback to students’ work.
This year the government will pilot an AI-enabled automated marking system for English Language with selected primary and secondary schools.
Strengthen Border Operations
The Government is looking to strengthen border security as well as improving the traveller experience, so they have come up with the following objective: to have 100% automated immigration clearance for all travellers.
Singapore will explore using AI to assist immigration officers in evaluating the risk profile of travellers before they arrive at our checkpoints, and to tier the level of security screening accordingly.
To enable this, they will collect and analyse data from various sources, including the Singapore Arrival Cards submitted by travellers and advance passenger information from airlines. The government will also study how to redesign the immigration clearance process to enable all travellers to enjoy secure and seamless immigration clearance experience via automated clearance facilities.
The Governments AI Journey is a Whole-of-Nation Effort and a Long-Term Evolving Journey
The National AI office has said that “We will continue to embark on more National AI Projects and adjust the enablers as we learn through implementation. This is a whole-of-nation effort, and we welcome ideas and action from individuals and companies to help deliver our AI vision for Singapore.”
The Singapore government aims to develop and implement the National AI Strategy continually, in order to respond to the rapidly changing technology landscape and to seize new opportunities that AI presents. The 5 National AI Projects are just the initial steps in a multi-year AI government plan.
The government released Presidential Regulation Number 132 of 2022 About the National Electronic-Based Government System Architecture to close corruption loopholes and improve government services to the people through integrated digital transformation (SPBE).
The National SPBE Architecture is vital for carrying out government business processes correctly and eliminating redundant government business processes to improve public services. The National SPBE design, according to Mahfud, is also projected to decline the repetition of ICT applications and infrastructure and increase information security.
“Integrated digital transformation can ultimately close the gaps in corruption in the service process and the use of state funds. The implementation provides quick, accurate, and transparent monitoring,” said Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, at a Ministerial Level Coordination Meeting discussing the Acceleration of Implementation of National SPBE at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.
The coordination meeting also reviewed the integration of the SPBE architecture’s development of the Information Technology-Based Integrated Criminal Justice System (SPPT-TI). The consolidation will involve digitalisation and the standardisation of the quality of national digital services.
SPBE’s position as a catalyst in speeding national development necessitates synergy from numerous initiatives stipulated in the National Medium-Term Development Plan for 2O2O-2O24. It would also assist the unification of government services through an interoperable data and information-sharing system in compliance with the One Data Indonesia strategy.
Furthermore, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs stated that cross-sectoral cooperation in the fields of Politics, Economy, Maritime Affairs, and Investment, as well as Human Development and Culture, was needed to ramp up the coordination of the national programme between government agencies.
“Each Coordinating Ministry is responsible for advancing SPBE implementation in the ministries/agencies under its management,” he explained.
On a separate occasion, the Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) convened a working session with members of the National Electronic-Based Government System Coordination Team (SPBE). The session covered a variety of issues, including efforts to accelerate the implementation of a digital government that is clean, effective, visible, and responsible.
E-catalogue is another effort to promote efficiency and minimise corruption which will digitally document government procurement transaction procedures.
Digitisation of government administration is one technique for developing an effective bureaucracy. The state civil apparatus (ASN) must move away from routine and toward a creative culture to improve people’s happiness. To be adopted, however, digitalisation must have genuine repercussions or implications on poverty reduction rates and investment growth.
Meanwhile, the Philippines has made a similar effort to prevent corruption by implementing Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) (IFMIS). The Public Financial Management Committee (PFMC) has authorised an integrated solution for transparent tracking of public money disbursements and appropriations.
BTMS is an important IFMIS component. The system is a web-based, completely automated, and centralised database that will help generate crucial information on all areas of government financial operations and function as an online ledger where transactions are documented in real-time from purchase to payment.
The government believes that the digital transformation initiative and convergence hub can improve government system performance. The system will deliver real-time and consolidated reports, improve company efficiency and system resilience, and prevent corruption.
On the other hand, Thailand’s government intended to produce a law document that will enable anti-corruption organisations, to prohibit illegal online transactions and cybercrime. Furthermore, to improve access to public information, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) has accelerated the development of a technological infrastructure system to support people’s use and reduce inequities in obtaining information via computer networks or online.
They also enacted the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2019 to safeguard the personal information (PDPA). The Personal Data Protection Regulation and Cross-Border Data Transfer are defined in the statute designed to protect private data rights. As a result, it is critical to retain citizens’ interest and safety in the internet environment.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has authorised the expansion of online visa applications for Chinese, South Korean, Japanese, and Indian visitors. The act on e-visa renewal aims to attract those countries’ tourism markets.
According to Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, Marcos delivered the command during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council’s (PSAC) Tourism Sector members at Malacaan Palace in Manila.
During the discussion at Malacaan Palace, PSAC asked Marcos to include Indian nationals in the visa-on-arrival programme and the e-visa request. The suggestion was made to help the government achieve its economic goals, particularly in the country’s critical sectors. As a result, only Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, South Korean, and Japanese citizens are eligible for VoA and e-visa.
DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy indicated that several connectivity issues with the other jurisdictions that will use the Philippine e-visa platform must be worked out.
“It will take at least a semester to establish the capability because there is so much anti-fraud element that has to be merged with the platform and the many countries that will be connected with the infrastructure and the transactions,” Garafil added, referring to Uy’s comments.
Enrique Manalo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who was present at the conference, revealed that his office is already engaging with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to provide the necessary preparations for the e-visa.
Meanwhile, Manalo added that the DFA has a programme for some Chinese nationals who qualify for visa-on-arrival. Other foreign nationals, such as Americans, Japanese, Australians, Canadians, and Europeans, may be granted a 14-day visa upon arrival, according to Garafil.
According to figures from the Presidential Communications Office, the Philippines hosted around 2.65 million visitors from February to December 2022, including 2.02 million foreign tourists and 628,445 Filipinos living abroad (PCO).
According to Garafil, the latest figure is higher than the 163,879 visitor arrivals projected for 2021 but fewer than the 8.26 million pre-pandemic average. The Department of Tourism (DOT) anticipates 4.8 million visitor arrivals in 2023, generating PHP2.58 trillion in income.
Marcos urged that the DICT embrace India’s offer to use its visa application system. The PSAC also issued “short-term” strategic recommendations, such as improving airport infrastructure and operations, promoting tourism investments, and administering the national brand or image.
She also noted that the PSAC had proposed a Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Programme for international tourists by 2024, as well as the elimination of the One Health Pass (OHP) or the obligation of only one form for health, immigration, and customs. The group also advocated for the “automatic” inclusion of travel tax in all airline tickets and the removal of outmoded airport advisories and loudspeaker announcements.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) began an online visa waiver project in December to improve legal services for tourists. The programme is aimed at short-term visitors to the country. They can extend their stay for another 30 days by submitting an online application.
In January, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) plans to modernise and automate immigration-related transactions at their international airports. To improve passenger service, the bureau seeks to modernise and automate all immigration-related processes, including tourist visa extensions, online visa waiver applications, and e-payments.
Previously, the agency implemented electronic transactions and payments for immigration applications, the eTravel system and a collaborative effort of multiple border management organisations. The BI director emphasised the importance of his administration’s priorities.
The urgencies include anti-corruption, digital transformation, national security, rightsizing, and employee empowerment. He also sees a need to expand immigration’s role in national security, follow the president’s lead in increasing the bureau’s personnel complement, and promote employee welfare.
Modern livestock development based on precision technology has become one of the options for continuously meeting household demands. Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture, advocated using the technology to improve the resilience of Indonesian cattle products.
“We have to support innovative animal husbandry techniques (and the breeders) to use KUR (people’s business credit) to meet capital demands,” Syahrul said at the kickoff of the National Technical Coordination Meeting in Jakarta.
According to SYL, the world’s cattle sector is currently in decline due to a lack of fodder because swept away by floods and extreme weather. He stressed the challenges were worldwide, with direct consequences for distribution routes and high inflation. However, he urged ministry workers to find a means to meet the meat demands of 270 million Indonesians as part of the ministry’s obligation.
Nasrullah, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Director General of Livestock and Animal Health, stated that the government had established a strategy to deal with the global food crisis. Increasing food production capacity for commodities such as cattle, buffalo, purebred chicken, free-range chicken, lamb/goat, duck, and pork is one of them. The Ministry of Agriculture continues to expand production capacity and increase exports of swiftlet nests, chickens, and chicken eggs to various Asian countries.
“Through the synergy of business players, we will create priority livestock commodities on a corporate basis, precision, and integrated with a livestock supply programme of 10 million heads through the development of goats/sheep, ducks, and chickens,” he explained.
Additionally, Syahrul encourages regional and central government cooperation and synergy to be reinforced to preserve existing output and strengthen the resilience of Indonesian cattle products. Particularly in terms of job division and work duties within each work unit. He proposes that each division’s tasks be clarified to decide the subsequent measures. Measurement is required to determine critical activities and control task efficacy.
The livestock industry has used technological advancement to modernise. In New Zealand, the government employed a new antibody testing robot to provide faster and more accurate tests for animal sickness. A 750kg high-throughput diagnostic robot worth NZ$ 580,000 (US$ 376,736.10) will improve testing reliability and precision throughout future biosecurity interventions.
The first-of-its-kind technology will aid in disease control among breeds since they will need to analyse 3,000 to 7,000 samples daily. By automating this process, farmers will profit from speedier outcomes while enhancing the well-being of the people and animals involved. The system, developed in Germany, can test up to 7,000 samples daily for antibodies to FMD and other exotic diseases.
The robot is self-sufficient and does not need constant supervision or interaction. This frees up animal health laboratory personnel for other tests and ensures stability during intense reaction periods. Even without human involvement, the robot can run experiments overnight. Delays in testing can have an economic impact because antibody testing is critical for preserving access and security of goods exports to New Zealand’s overseas markets. If an exotic disease outbreak occurs in New Zealand’s animals, automation will help the country to recover more quickly.
Meanwhile, agricultural sectors known as smart agriculture have been modernised by technology. It boosts output, addresses farm-related issues such as food demand, and makes farms more connected and intelligent. Precision farming, variable rate technologies, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouses are innovative agriculture applications that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT). The innovative farming method provides farmers with higher yields, higher-quality products, and the ability to cultivate crops regularly all year. The technology satisfies the market’s requirement for food efficiency and sufficiency.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a mobile application for the Khelo India Youth Games 2022. The app gives participating athletes, coaches, support staff, parents of athletes, and officials from all states participating in the Games access to information about the competition, through a single platform. This is the first time that a dedicated application has been launched for the Khelo India Youth Games.
The App has a dedicated athlete login and supports the athlete right from the time of their registration into the games, through the entire course of the Games. The app gives the athlete a chance to check if their verified documents have been uploaded before the start of the Games. According to a government press release, this will ensure greater transparency for athletes in the registration process. The application is available both for Android and Apple phones and can be downloaded free of cost.
As the athlete registers for the games and arrives at the Games venues in Madhya Pradesh, they can check the status of the issuance of their sporting kits, the hotel where they will stay, transportation plan for athletes to and from the venue, as well as have important contact numbers where athletes can connect in case of an emergency. Further, to ensure that athletes have immediate responses to queries raised by them during the Games, a chatbot has also been created. For sports fans, the application gives access to match schedules, medal tally, addresses of Games venues, and the photo gallery.
The Khelo India Youth Games are held every year. They are national-level multidisciplinary grassroots games held in January or February for two categories: under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. This year, the Games will be held in Bhopal from 30 January to 11 February. The competition has been divided into twelve different verticals, including developing state-level Khelo India centres, talent identification and development, sports for women, and the promotion of sports amongst people with disabilities.
The government has launched several applications and online services to promote athletics. For instance, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) launched the National Anti-Doping Agency app. It provides athletes with a one-stop solution for all anti-doping-related information. The app helps athletes understand anti-doping rules and regulations and provides a platform for athletes to report any potential anti-doping violations.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Fit India App to encourage people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. The app provides offers a range of features such as fitness challenges, workout routines, health tips, and a record of daily physical activity. The app also provides users with a dashboard that helps them track their progress and set goals for themselves. Its age-appropriate fitness protocols, approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), test the fitness level of the user. Based on the results of the fitness tests, the app gives users a fitness score that tells them how fit they are and then further suggests activities to improve their health and fitness level.
Automated elections are cost-effective because they can accommodate up to 1,000 voters per clustered precinct instead of 500 voters per precinct in manual ballots, necessitating paying more workers. Therefore, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Cavite 4th District advised his colleagues in the House of Representatives to employ the Automated Elections System (AES) in the Barangay (village) and local council Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) elections on October 30 this year.
In House Resolution 717, which he submitted on Wednesday, Barzaga asked the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms to launch an investigation into the Electoral Reform Act. The viability and feasibility of executing automated BSK polls are discussed.
“It will not only result in faster outcomes and the announcement of victors, but it will also eliminate human involvement or error and confusion in the evaluation of ballots on an experimental basis on the BSK Elections in major barangays, ideally in Metro Manila,” he convinced.
There are 42,022 barangays in the country as of October 2022, each with one punong barangay (local official) and seven Sangguniang Barangay (village council) members, one SK chairperson and seven representatives.
There will be two polls for the BSK elections, one for ordinary voters aged 18 and above and another for SK electors aged 15 to 30. The lawmakers suggested repurposing and adjusting the existing Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) to accept two ballots from registered voters. Then, the devices can independently summarise the Barangay and SK elections’ scores.
The BSKE, scheduled for October this year, will use a manual election system in which voters will write the names of candidates on ballots. Historically, manual elections can encounter issues such as imprecise counting, perception, and appreciation of votes. The integration of votes in larger Barangays usually takes two to three days, as opposed to automated elections, which immediately transmit the results to the canvassing centre upon closing of the voting.
Barzaga stated that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was praised for conducting the national and municipal polls on May 9, 2022, for having the fastest results and largest voter turnout since the Philippines adopted the AES in 2010, and that the public has accepted the outcomes of the elections. The 2022 national and municipal elections were attended by 55,290,821, or 84.10 per cent of the 67,745,526 registered voters.
The resolution also said that the Comelec owned the 97,000 reconditioned vote-counting machines (VCMs) it purchased in 2016 and leased more VCMs for the 2022 elections and that a portion of these machines will be used in the BSK Elections in the pilot barangays. Barzaga believes voters are well-versed in using AES since The Philippines have used the technology in the national and municipal elections in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has indicated that it is open to holding automated village votes. Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia noted that they would investigate the possibility of executing a pilot test of barangay and SK election automation in specific areas/precincts. He mentioned that Barzaga contacted him about the proposition earlier this week.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11935 on October 10, 2022, rescheduling December 5, 2022, BSK elections to October 30, 2023, and holding other polls every three years after that. Meanwhile, earlier this month, OFW Party List Rep. Marissa Magsino suggested that the government should change the existing law to increase voting options to prevent voter disenfranchisement of about 1.83 million OFWs exercising their right to vote. The proposed legislation would enable Filipino personnel working abroad to vote via email, web-based portals, and other internet-based technologies.
Researchers are exploring ways to improve artificial intelligence image identification accuracy on computer vision. Computer vision is an artificial intelligence topic that teaches computers to extract information from digital images. They employed an algorithm that takes the distorted image as input and outputs a clean image to the users.
The study focuses on images partially smudged or distorted due to the missing pixels. Another goal is to reduce the uncertainty estimations and inferences from the visual data acquired. The researchers then created computer algorithms to reveal the part of the signal that is marred or otherwise concealed.
“Models for doing so already exist, but quantifying the uncertainty is difficult. And you don’t want to make a mistake in a life-or-death situation,” Swami Sankaranarayanan, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the study’s lead author, explained.
So far, they have been able to reconstruct images of simple objects, such as human faces or animals. However, they wish to expand their method into more required fields, such as medical imaging, where our “statistical assurance” may be precious. If the film, or radiograph, of a chest X-ray, is blurred, they intend to reconstruct the image as accurately as possible.
They attempted to rebuild the image while preserving vital information. In the instance of a chest X-ray, this could tell whether a patient has lung cancer or pneumonia. Sankaranarayanan and his associates have already begun collaborating with a radiologist to assess whether their method for diagnosing pneumonia could be beneficial in a clinical context.
Their work is also helpful in the realm of law enforcement. The image from a surveillance camera may be grainy, but law enforcement agents can improve it using their instruments. The tools he and his colleagues are building could aid in identifying a guilty individual and exonerating an innocent one.
As a result, obtaining a more excellent grasp of that uncertainty could benefit us in various ways. For one thing, it can help us learn more about what we don’t know. MIT engineers successfully established reliable estimates of uncertainty and displayed ambiguity in a form that the average person could understand.
In a new study, Sankaranarayanan and his co-authors — Anastasios Angelopoulos and Stephen Bates of the University of California at Berkeley; Yaniv Romano of the Israel Institute of Technology; and Phillip Isola, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT — addressed the issues.
When recovering a blurred image, questions are bound to occur. How much trust can one put in the correctness of the resulting image? And, as addressed in the December 2022 study, how should the ambiguity in that image be represented? The conventional method generates a “saliency map,” which assigns a probability value between 0 and 1 to each pixel to express the model’s confidence in its accuracy.
Their approach revolves around an image’s “semantic characteristics” – clusters of pixels that, combined, have meaning, such as a human face, a dog, or any other recognised entity. According to Sankaranarayanan, the goal is to “estimate uncertainty in a fashion that relates to groupings of pixels that humans can easily perceive.”
While the usual technique may produce a single image representing the “best guess” as to what the genuine picture should be, the ambiguity in that representation is typically difficult to perceive. Therefore, according to the new article, uncertainty should be conveyed meaningfully to people who are not experts in machine learning for application in the real world.
When recovering a blurred image, questions are likely to occur. How much assurance can someone have in the reliability of the resulting image? And, as discussed in the December 2022 paper, what is the best approach to convey uncertainty in that image? The conventional method is to generate a “saliency map,” which assigns a probability value — somewhere between 0 and 1 — to each pixel to represent the model’s certainty in its validity.
Their technique is centred on an image’s semantic characteristics – groups of pixels that, when combined, convey meaning, such as a human face, a dog, or any other recognised entity. According to Sankaranarayanan, the goal is to estimate uncertainty in a fashion that connects to the groups of pixels that humans can easily perceive.
Whereas the usual technique may produce a single image representing the best guess as to what the genuine picture should be, the ambiguity in that representation is typically difficult to perceive. According to the new article, to be helpful in the real world, uncertainty needs to be communicated in a meaningful way to individuals who are not experts in machine learning.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs to send SMS are now required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) as part of the measures announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) last October. This registration is intended to protect consumers from non-registered SMS that may be scams, a press statement has said.
Starting from 31 January, any non-registered SMS will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. This functions similarly to a spam filter or spam bin. Consumers might get non-registered SMS labelled as “Likely-SCAM” and are advised to exercise caution. If unsure, consumers are encouraged to check with family and friends. This will improve IMDA’s overall resilience against scams.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs must register early with the SSIR. This is to give adequate time as non-registered SMS Sender IDs after 31 January will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. Organisations that have not registered their Sender IDs are advised to do so, the statement said.
As of January 2023, over 1,200 organisations have already registered with SSIR, using more than 2,600 SMS Sender IDs. These include financial institutions, e-commerce operators, logistics providers, and SMEs that send SMS to their customers who have registered with the SSIR.
In recent months, IMDA reached out to organisations through aggregators and associations such as the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, and Association of Banks in Singapore, to encourage them to register with the SSIR. The mandatory SSIR regime is part of a broader effort to protect against scams, which also includes working with telecom operators to reduce the number of scam calls and SMS coming through the communication networks.
Since the implementation of the SSIR in March 2022, there has been a significant decrease in scams reported through SMS, with a 64% reduction from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, scam cases perpetrated via SMS dropped from 10% in 2021 to 8% in Q2 2022, down from 10% in 2021.
To effectively combat scams, a collective effort from society is needed. Despite implementing various measures, scammers may adapt their methods and tactics. IMDA will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against scams, but individual vigilance and awareness are crucial. Consumers should remain vigilant and share scam prevention tips with friends and loved ones, the statement said.
IMDA leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA is working to develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem. It fosters talent, strengthens business capabilities, and enhances Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
Scams and unwanted commercial electronic messages and calls are an international problem with scammers continuing to prey on unsuspecting parties. Last year, IMDA and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation and fight scams and spam. The agreement covers cooperation in information sharing and assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls and short message services. The two sides also agreed to mutual exchanges of knowledge and expertise and collaboration on technical and commercially viable solutions in relation to scam and spam communications.