A high-level parliamentary committee looking into how Singapore can thwart deliberate online untruths wrapped up on Thursday (March 29), after a record eight days of public hearings.
One theme that emerged from eight days of public hearing by a high-level parliamentary committee into how Singapore can thwart deliberate online untruths was the difficulty in defining online falsehoods. RSIS’ Dr Norman Vasu said the question of what should be defined as true or false should not be left in the hands of a select few. Another theme was the national security threat posed by online falsehoods as pointed out by RSIS defence specialist Michael Raska, who said conflicts can be won without a single bullet, and that disinformation can be used instead to intrude on another nation’s sovereignty. Dr Gulizar Haciyakupoglu, also from the RSIS, warned of signs in recent months that an information warfare against Singapore is under way, with an unnamed country trying to influence minds and legitimise its actions by putting out its narrative through news articles and social media. The other, RSIS national security expert Dr Damien Cheong, said the goal of a state-sponsored disinformation campaign is to destabilise government and society. RSIS’ Dr Shashi Jayakumar warned that Singapore could also be a “sandbox for subversion” due to its smart nation push and social media penetration. NTU Assoc Prof Alton Chua and RSIS senior fellow Benjamin Ang called for a variety of non-legislative measures to counter fake news, including expanding the National Education curriculum to cover the moral, legal and social implications of falsehoods, and setting up an independent body of non-governmental experts who can aid in assessing if falsehoods identified are part of a larger disinformation operation.
Last updated on 02/04/2018