23 Feb 2005

Feeling Paranoid Yet?

Big Brother




Couple the recently introduced 'infrastructure' outlined below with the following quote from Garry Rodan (1997):

A central feature of the Singapore strategy on Internet control is the attempt to bring this medium under the same tight regimen as other electronic and non-electronic media. Penalties are applied at various levels of information provision or newsgroup hosting. These combine with legislation, open to wide interpretation, outlawing "interference in domestic politics" (as in the case of international press) or content which "brings the government into hatred or contempt" (as in the internet). When the political will to obstruct certain information and views is coupled with such variables as an efficient and technically competent bureaucracy, an established regime of political intimidation and surveillance, and embedded corporatist structures facilitating cooperation between state officials and administrators across public and private sectors, you have a formidable mix.


http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=internetNews&storyID=7698536

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore is to spend $23 million over three years to battle online hackers and other forms of "cyber-terrorism" in one of the world's most connected countries, government officials said Tuesday.

Describing the infrastructure behind the Internet as a "nerve system" in Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said a new National Cyber-Threat Monitoring Center would maintain round-the-clock detection and analysis of computer virus threats.

"We cannot afford to treat the threats from cyber terrorists, cyber criminals and irresponsible hackers lightly," Tan said in a speech while unveiling an information-technology security "master plan" in the tech-savvy city-state.

"Infocomm security is as important in protecting Singapore as is physical security at our borders," added Tan, who is also Coordinating Minister for Security and Defense.

Singapore has one of the world's highest Internet penetration rates, with 50-60 percent of its 4.2 million people living in homes wired to the Internet.

The affluent, predominantly ethnic Chinese island has also steadily tightened security since the September 2001 attacks on the United States, from patrols of heavily armed police in busy shopping districts to tighter security at border points.

In 2003, Singapore passed strict legislation to allow monitoring of all computer activity and for police to take pre-emptive action to protect state computers from cyber attack.

Tan said the money would also be used to help businesses tighten security for online financial transactions while guiding them to work with the government in maintaining cyber security.

The Cyber-Threat Monitoring Center will link up with companies that provide anti-virus systems and governments running similar centers, including the United States and Australia. It is expected to be fully operational by the second half of 2006.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

40 comments:

soci said...

And then suddenly as we turn the corner and the lack of narcotics and chewing gum kicks in we see the large eye in the sky pointing directly at us, an ominous silence descends.

To yet again utter the very much over used term of dear departed gonzo.

"Fear and Loathing in Singabloodypore."

soci said...

Follow the link to http://tornandfrayed.typepad.com/tornandfrayed
/2005/02/hunter_s_thomps.html
Will Singapore ever generate such a journalist, would Singapore tolerate such insight?

The Legal Janitor said...

technically competent bureaucracyI guess it becomes a technological arms race then eh?

Honestly though, I'd stick to my argument that there's no way the state can keep up with us as long as we maintain our technological edge.

soci said...

Some feel that bloggers should band together in order to try and protect each other,

http://izreloaded.tripod.com/
february2005.htm#
freemojtabaandarash

McbloodyDermott! said...

You're saying that the money spent on preventing cyberterrorism is actually used to block sites like yours?

Scary.

Mcbloodydermott! likes "Fear and Loathing in Singabloodypore.".

mel said...

Living in Singapore sounds like being in a Truman show. Everyone is Truman and the 'creator' need to know every step Truman take, every move Truman make, and every thing Truman say. Creepy.

bloodied, bloodier said...

if george orwells had been brought back to life he would have prefered dead.

the greatest evil that Osama wrought wasn't 911, but the excuse/justification (terrorism)and mechanism (pre-emptive doctrine) world leaders needed for totalitarianism
"big brother is watching"

Anonymous said...

Mcbloodydermott!, you're one funny guy. lol

soci said...

who mentioned block. Currently engaged in monitoring, when election time comes we shall see how these new powers are utilised.

We are currently able to post here, not because the PAP allows us to. But because they are unable to or unwilling to block, blogger.com. Owned by google.

OldMcDonald said...

You are crazy to think that the government would spend millions to block sites that express dissenting ideas. Hopefully your readers would not be misled into thinking that the Reuters had something to do with that outdated quote by Rodan because it does not.

McbloodyDermott! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
McbloodyDermott! said...

Do you think they will track people who visit sites like yours? Scary. Does monitoring include activities that will prevent you from reaching your audience? How do you think their powers will be utilised during election time.

"We are currently able to post here, not because the PAP allows us to. But because they are unable to or unwilling to block, blogger.com. Owned by google."

What other areas do would you include under the category of things that the PAP does not allow us to do but because they are unable or unwilling or unable to stop us from doing? I think buying the book you recommended by James Gomez is one of them. Would you include visiting other countries as one of the activities that we can do not because they allow us to but because they are unable or unwilling to?

soci said...

oldmcdonald
It is quoted and is obviously separate from the Reuters article. It's my interpretation.

As for 'outdated', simply because an issue was highlighted in the 90's makes something outdated?

If the issue of authoritarian rule still exists and has existed during the 60's, 70's 80's, 90's unitl the present, does that mean that the underlying current of state policies should be viewed in isolation as opposed to a strengthening of past, present and future authoritarian legislation.

Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago and people still refer to that outdated debate.

soci said...

Of course you can visit outside countries, but you got to come back with the money or get labelled as a 'quitter'.

And the media likes to claim that outside Singapore it's very dangerous.Kinda like the Truman Show.

I've been living in the UK and have yet to be attacked or mugged in the street.

Try asking a member of the PAP what happened to the money they loaned the Suharto Regime?

bloodied said...

"Of course you can visit outside countries, but you got to come back with the money or get labelled as a 'quitter'" LOL

"And the media likes to claim that outside Singapore it's very dangerous."

reminds me of a paragraph in Lexus and the olive tree, thomas friedmann (2nd ed, 1999)

(from memory)
during the cold war the soviets published a picture in their dailys showing americans queuing up for their breads. when i took a closer look, it was actually a picture of new yorkers forming outside (popular bakery) in the early morning.

btw, who said queuing outside Lim chee guan for 2 hours for Bak gua during CNY is a uniquely singaporean experience? =)

OldMcDonald said...

If you say it's your interpretation then that's fine but your interpretation appears to be a conspiracy theory.

To Mcbloodydermott! and McDermott
I was mugged three times in the UK. Murder was committed three blocks from where I stay though I did not witness it. On the other hand, I was pick pocketed twice in Singapore.

"Of course you can visit outside countries, but you got to come back with the money or get labelled as a 'quitter'"
Like bloodied, I'm also laughing out loud. It's a good joke but I hope/think it's not true since I did not return as a billionaire.

soci said...

oldmcdonald,

yes it is my theory, but calling it a conspiracy theory implies that I have no eveidence to support it, and that I am saying that its a few people in control. please explain how an argument that the state through the use of legislation is attempting to control... is a conspiracy theory?

Conspiracy theories are laid redundant by the counter argument that a small group of individuals are unable to assert such an extreme level of control because they have a small circle of influence.

Does the state in Singapore have a small circle of influence?

soci said...

The centre of my argument is that there is a lack of autonomy between the 'executive', the 'legislature' and the 'judiciary'. Add that to a pseudo-elected group that dominate almost every large corporation in Singapore.

They have a very large circle of influence.

soci said...

While living in Singapore there was murder a few blocks from where I lived, in Bukit Batok.

I think what is important is the constant referral to how 'safe' Singapore is compared to other countries. How, relatively 'free' of drugs.

Reported crime in Singapore has increased, mainly in terms of mobile phone theft. Here in the UK we call that getting, 'mugged' or 'robbed'. In Singapore it's called 'mobile theft'.

Anonymous said...

Surely legislation that is introduced to 'combat terrorism' or cameras being enstalled in schools can perform a dual function.

OldMcDonald said...

Good question. Since you ask, do you have evidence?

You believe that the official purpose of cracking down on cybercrime is merely a guise which a small group (presumably from your “favourite” party) uses to do the monitoring. This falls under conspiracy theory.

Either that or you believe that most Singaporeans are aware and think that $23m is used for “monitoring”. Frankly I don’t believe many Singaporeans think that way.

As for your later comment, I don't think the "circle of influence" matters in the definition of conspiracy theory.

soci said...

Yes I do, its in the article quoted from Reuters and then linked to the secondary research of Garry Rodan.

"We cannot afford to treat the threats from cyber terrorists, cyber criminals and irresponsible hackers lightly," Tan said.

Garry Rodan highlights the law that saying nasty things about the government, thats government and not PAP is illegal, "These combine with legislation, open to wide interpretation, outlawing "interference in domestic politics" (as in the case of international press) or content which "brings the government into hatred or contempt"".

And yes a conspiracy theory can be undermined by referring to the circle of influence of a small group usually not being able to control or be fully aware of all intended and unintended consequences. Have a look at Karl Popper's 'Open Society and its Enemies'.

In sociologial theory it is usually referred to as 'methodological individualism'.

But in Singapore there is a lack of autonomy between the different institutions of the state, namely the executive, legislature and judiciary, pseudo-elected representatives, and large corporation.

Now that is a big group.

Care to provide the evidence that my belief is conspiracy. And then you can provide a counter argument that doesn't argue about unintended consequences. I await with baited breath.

OldMcDonald said...

You have a theory.You have interested parties.The event or phenomenon is covert (unless you argue that all Singaporeans are aware that the $23m is spent on "monitoring". Do Singaporeans think so?)An influential agency is involved. There is a political motive. Therefore it fits the definition of conspiracy theory.

I have a copy of Karl Popper's "Open Society and its enemies" right beside me. I'll be glad to reread parts of the book that I've forgotten but I think I'm doing fine so far.

You highlighted "cybercriminals" and then linked it with Rodan's quote about legislation that is "open to wide interpretation". This is not evidence that $23 m is spent on fighting "cybercriminals" like yourself. I'm surprised that you would think so much money would be poured into such a useless activity. What do you think can come out of monitoring sites like yours?

As much as I think you are a smart person, I think this theory will require more imagination than I can ever muster.

KnightofPentacles said...

This conspiracy theory is downright irrational. Remember Occam's Razor.

There are much easier ways to divert funds required for the covert electronic monitoring of activities our rulers deems as threats to the political status quo.

S$23m is a drop in the bucket, considering the base cost of top-end hardware (and especially software) today.

My personal feeling is that money is desperately needed to upgrade security software, buy / install upgrade patches, allocate additional out-of-band channels for monitoring and recovery.

Forget satellite photos and spy gadgets and Cypher chips.

The money is for boring old things like anti-virus software and firewalls upgrades and making sure software has the latest security patches installed.

The electronic tracking and monitoring systems are already in place. What makes you think they need to declare the need for another S$23m to set up monitoring systems?

ivan said...

"I've been living in the UK and have yet to be attacked or mugged in the street."

i've barely lived in the UK for 2 years and i have (among other events) 2 burly guys walking into subway (where i live) asking if i intend to live in the UK (you go figure which political party they are from)
Sorry but maybe i'm just a magnet for trouble. A Lithuanian post grad student playing for the University rugby team, was rejected from 5 part-time jobs (inc. subway and macdonalds).

Plus i've called the police at least 5 times for i've had heard muggings, assaults (sexual and non-sexual), spousal abuse coming from the alley leading away from the main street.

Maybe its just the county i live in (durham). Or maybe it's the state of events that i bring to this country. Like drink spiking cases that are reported every week.

Sure the UK is safe. Only if you are white, male and speak in the like native.

"Reported crime in Singapore has increased, mainly in terms of mobile phone theft. Here in the UK we call that getting, 'mugged' or 'robbed'. In Singapore it's called 'mobile theft'."

i agree with you that crime rates are shooting up. But legally theft and getting "mugged" or "robbed" is different. In Sg you give the thieves a chance to spirit away you phone, and it might be gone. In the UK, guys chance upon you in a dark alley and demand for your phone, wallet and jewellery. Maybe a walk to your local police department will clarify this issue.

Anonymous said...

It's not a myth that Singapore is safer than other countries. Of course the crime rate is going up, since when do crime rates, divorce rates and obesity rates go down?

In Singapore, you'd feel perfectly safe jogging in the parks at midnight.

Getting mugged means a real chance of getting killed, doesn't it? If there is no difference between Singapore-style theft and mugging, then New York is logically, as safe as Singapore.

McbloodyDermott! said...

"Of course you can visit outside countries, but you got to come back with the money or get labelled as a 'quitter'."

So does touring other countries fall into the category of things that the PAP does not allow us to do but are unable or unwilling or unable to stop us from doing? What about males keeping their hair long? It used to be banned but now it does not seem to be the case. Do you think the PAP allow us to keep our hair long not because it allows us to but because they are unwilling or unable to stop us from keeping our hair long?

The PAP gets scarier each day.

Anonymous said...

This argument is getting ridiculous. Not only does the PAP "allow" us to visit other countries, it actively pumps in money into sending students abroad for scholarships, exchange programs, work visits, although there is always a high chance people won't want to come back.

And no one cares whether males leave their hair long. Accept perhaps people who look at long-haired males who can't pull off a long hairdo.

soci said...

sometimes these comments appear to have the attention span of a goldfish.

soci said...

yet again, merely attack the person and not his or her opinion.

soci said...

For some reason I believe that being able to comment anonymously attracts the trolls so I am disabling anonymous comment. From now on everyone who wishes to comment will have to be registered.
When the trolls have gone to feed elsewhere I may allow anonymous comment again.

Agagooga said...

Just like the Speakers Corner!

soci said...

Well unlike speakers corner, you don't have to submit the topic you are going to discuss, and you can't be arrested, and every registration requested will receive a positive response.

anonymouse2005 said...

But just like the ST, the blog owner apparently can and does delete offensive comments, and doesn't tolerate dissent.

ivan said...

MacDermott: Since you've not indicated otherwise. I suppose we can take it that your assertion that the Uk is as safe or safer than Sg, has been disposed of as false? And that there is truth in the media hyping "outside singapore" as relatively more dangerous.

Agagooga said...

The differentials are not as much as are made out to be. If you don't do stupid things (jogging at 3am through crime-ridden neighbourhoods), you're generally okay.

soci said...

Ivan I never asserted that the UK is as safe as Sg. The question I asked was why do they keep banging on about it. Is it Singapores only redeeming feature?

And the validity, or assuming the true nature of official statistics is always very dubious. It usually has a lot to do with propaganda or political ideology.

anonymouse2005 said...

It's not that safety Singapore is only redeeming feature. It's that every country is known for something, and we are known for being a safe place. Safe is relative. Of course we have crimes in singapore, but compared to other countries we are among the safest. And you actually can come home at 3am and not get killed or anything. If you doubt the interpretation of statistics, then u can go look up what Singapore bases its claim to safety upon. No of murder cases? No of people killed in school shootouts? and u can draw your own conclusion. One cannot simply deduce that we are not as safe as we claim to be just because statistics is prone to manipulation.

jack said...

Please be careful when you buy tramadol .

Please be careful when you buy tramadol online.

Please be careful when you buy fioricet

Please be careful aboutloss weight

Please be careful when you buy tramadol.

Please be careful when buying Tramadol.

Please be careful when buying from an online pharmacy .

Please be careful when buying penis enlargement pill .

Please be careful when buying penis enlargment pill .

Please be careful when buying penis pill .

Enlargement said...

Interesting blog you have here, I landed here on accident. I was searcing for something else and came across your site. I found it pretty interesting and entertaining. I got you book marked.

I will pop back in from time to time to see what you have new here.

My site is a bit different than yours, but just as entertaining and educational, I run a penis enlargment methods related site pertaining to penis enlargment methods related articles.