Sunday, February 22, 2009

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan : Your anonymity is an illusion...

"Anonymity in cyberspace is an illusion. You will remember in 2007, we prosecuted three persons under the Sedition Act because of the blogs they put up which denigrated the religion of one of our communities in Singapore. " - Vivian Balakrishnan
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"Aiyah. We know the gahmen knows given the amount our gahmen spend on cyberwarfare. Our anonymity is for our friends, parents and relatives not to worry about us lah!" - Lucky Tan
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When you post a message to a forum or blog, one or more IP packets are created and transmitted to carry your message. Within each IP packet is an IP address assigned to you by your ISP - Starhub or SingTel. This packet goes back to what you call routers in your ISP and they can log your IP address there. When your message reaches the server hosting the forum or blog, they will also log your IP address. Given we don't have many laws to protect privacy and our govt history of watching over the citizens closely, one cannot expect real anonymity on the Internet unless you make an extra effort(to use anonymisers, proxies etc). I would like to thank Vivian Balakrishnan for reminding us what we already know. Just to clarify, for many bloggers, our anonymity is to keep our friends, parents and relatives from worrying and not for any other purpose.
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You see if we were the citizens of any other developed country, we would be happy to put our real names to our messages. But Singapore is not any other country, and there is this constant fear among a large segment of the population especially the older folks that the police/ISD will knock on our doors in the middle of the night when we say something unapproved. We all know that the chances of this happening is small given the govt is kept busy by the Chee siblings and various pesky members of the opposition who rank higher on their list of priorities. However, the older folks don't understand this and they will have sleepless nights worrying about the knock on the door and all it takes is one busybody tech savvy relative to tell them and they will nag you everyday to take the blog down. The disproportionate large number of highly articulate anonymous blogs is unique to Singapore because the fear has not disappeared....and not everyone is convinced that our govt is open to opposing views - it is not that bloggers don't want the govt to know, they don't want to keep their friends and families awake at night worrying about them. Those who are truly fearful will not even blog - they will just keep silent.

All this fear is not completely irrational. When Goh Chok Tong was PM, he spoke of a govt that will be consultative and open to new ideas. I remember that assurance he gave when Chee Soon Juan decided to embark on a career in opposition politics - he said that nothing will happen to Chee. For many it was a real sign that the govt had decided to change for the better. However, we soon discovered that what "nothing" meant. Chee was sacked, bankrupted, humiliated and jailed. ...he ended up with "nothing" and "nothing" did happen to him. Our govt's constant talk about regulating the Internet and its beliefs that human rights and democracy are flawed ideas and inferior to the PAP system of govt result in a fear that the PAP will simply go back to its old ways to preserved their system when the need arises.

For many other countries, handling the new media has been a piece of cake. President Obama embraced it...other govts live with it simply as an extension preserving the freedom of expression that already existed in their society before the Internet. The reason why the PAP has so much problems with the Internet is the need to perpetuated a dominant viewpoint - the PAP debates internally and simply tells us that what they are doing is the best for us i.e. for our own good. People now know that the PAP does not have a monopoly on wisdom (which they use to justify their high salaries) and they don't always make good decisions (on investment and other matters). There is limited debate parliament because the opposition has been weakened. So what do people do? Those who find it hard to remain silent go to the Internet to express their views at a great risk to themselves because their activities can be monitored and anonymity is an illusion. Wouldn't it be better for themselves if they simply remained silent and spend their weekend at Harvey Norman? Why take this great risk on the Internet to express their views? Many just want to get their views across quickly and to many people. If they go through the govt feedback channels or the MSM forums, their views would be managed away explained away and disappear along the channel. For many whose well being have been traded away in various policies and find they can no longer remain silent, they found a new media to express themselves and many are willing to take this risk of being monitored because they truly believe they are right and that change must come to Singapore for us to progress in the coming decades. Singapore was more democratic in the 1970s compared with S. Korea and Taiwan which were under military rule. Today, the S. Koreans & Taiwanese have no problems with the Internet and the PAP govt is still trying to find a way to cope with it. The best way to deal with the Internet is to make political progress and turn the Internet into a non-issue.

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Govt says policies on new media will evolve as new challenges crop up
By Satish Cheney, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 21 February 2009 2044 hrs SINGAPORE :

The Singapore government has been embracing and even adopting new media for its work. And while it is still some way from fully tapping the potential, the government said it will gradually evolve its policies with a light touch, as the Web2.0 revolution constantly throws up new challenges. Singapore is the most wired city in the world. And according to a survey, young Singaporeans aged 15 to 24 spend an average of eight-and-a-half hours a day being connected. And the government has been using new media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and forums to hook up with citizens. Another new media outlet is the OnePeople Portal. The online resource on racial harmony was launched by the Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday. While the government is gradually liberalising its approach towards online engagement with its citizens, the minister added that one has to be responsible and careful when posting their thoughts online." Dr Balakrishnan said: "Anonymity in cyberspace is an illusion. You will remember in 2007, we prosecuted three persons under the Sedition Act because of the blogs they put up which denigrated the religion of one of our communities in Singapore. "The reason we did that was to send the message that your words have an impact; if need be, we can identify you, and if we have to, we will be prepared to prosecute you." But there are some challenges in the government's use of new media to get public feedback. Dr Milagros Rivera, member, Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS), said: "We expected people to give feedback. Nobody did. I think seven people posted comments on the AIMS website, and then the blogosphere went crazy with all kinds of comments and discussions about New Media. "You can have a very nice welcoming website for the government to give feedback. If people are not comfortable they will just stay in their little forums and in their blogs and they will do their thing." And there is no doubt more challenges will crop up as cyberspace continues to evolve and change the way people communicate with one another. - CNA/ms

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You will remember in 2007, we prosecuted three persons under the Sedition Act because of the blogs they put up which denigrated the religion of one of our communities in Singapore. "The reason we did that was to send the message that your words have an impact; if need be, we can identify you, and if we have to, we will be prepared to prosecute you."

the wise old solomon said...there is really nothing NEW under the sun. people just repackage old ideas and see things from a different perspective.

if the garbagemen has problems with that,i think they better start "prosecuting" all the books( in the library and bookshops) the government allowed into the country less they be called...hypocrites


most people are just parroting their...."pastors/theologians" anyway

Anonymous said...

OOPS,,,I TALK TOO MUCH,

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,

Are we suppose to keep quiet when the gahmen burns our pants and push us to work as foreign maids and foreign construction workers?

Is good gahmen an illusion after they squandered all our money.

Thanks we appreciate good governance.

Anonymous said...

As a old man was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang.Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Harry, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Route 280. Please be careful!"

"It's not just one car," said Harry, "It's hundreds of them!"

Anonymous said...

There was a job opening in the country’s most prestigious law firm and it finally comes down to Robert and Paul.

Both graduated magna cum laude from law school. Both come from good families. Both are equally attractive and well
spoken. It’s up to the senior partner to choose one, so he takes each aside and asks, “Why did you become a lawyer?” In seconds, he chooses Paul.

Baffled, Robert takes Paul aside. “I don’t understand why I was
rejected. When Mr. Armstrong asked me why I became a lawyer, I said that I had the greatest respect for the law, that I’d lay down my life for the Constitution and that all I wanted was to do right by my clients. What in the world did you tell him?”

“I said I became a lawyer because of my hands,” Robert replies.

“Your hands? What do you mean?”

“Well, I took a look one day and there wasn’t any money in either of them!”

Anonymous said...

like they say,,,garbage in garbage out

before you say it smells,pls check your own backyard FARTERS

Anonymous said...

Dun threaten us, arrest John Alexander Thain (born May 26, 1955)and his brigade of Instant Millionaire if you can.

Anonymous said...

Two priests were going to Hawaii on vacation and decided that they would make this a real vacation by not wearing anything that would identify them as clergy. As soon as the plane landed, they headed for a store and bought some really outrageous shorts and shirts, sandals, sunglasses, etc. The next morning, they went to the beach, dressed in their "tourist" garb and were sitting on beach chairs, enjoying a drink, the sunshine and the scenery when a "drop dead" gorgeous blonde in a tiny bikini came walking straight toward them. They couldn't help but stare and when she passed them she turned to them, smiled and said, "Good morning, Father; good morning, Father" nodding and addressing each of them individually, then passed on by. They were both stunned - how in the world did she recognize them as priests?

The next day they went back to the store, bought even more outrageous outfits -these were so loud, you could hear them before you even saw them - and again they settled on the beach in their chairs to enjoy the sunshine, etc. After a while, the same gorgeous blonde,wearing a string bikini this time, came walking toward them again. (They were glad they had sunglasses, because their eyes were about to pop out of their heads). Again, she approached them and greeted them individually: "good morning, Father; good morning, Father" and started to walk away. One of the priest couldn't stand it and said, "just a minute young lady. Yes we are priests, and proud of it, but I have to know, how in the world did YOU know?" "Oh Father, don't you recognize me?. ................ I'm Sister Kathryn"

Anonymous said...

oi, why don't you go farting arrests all the controversial IDEAS since the beginning of time huh?

and while you are at it, consult a couple of chickens be you before you decide whether the chicken comes first or the egg lah

Anonymous said...

oi, why don't you go farting arrests all the controversial IDEAS since the beginning of time huh?

and while you are at it, consult a couple of chickens before you decide whether the chicken comes first or the egg lah

Anonymous said...

moral of the story is:

when you decree from a vantage pt, do remember that the people can see your pee sai holes.

Anonymous said...

I won't be surprised the even our e-mails are monitored, especially those accounts bundled with ISPs.

Anonymous said...

From way back when, my overseas visitors came to Singapore for the first time, they expected to see large life-size statues and billboards of LKY. They thought Singapore was a police state, not very different from N. Korea. They are actually not that far from the mark.

So it is not surprising that we need to be reminded that we are being watched and monitored all the time. I guess they think they should be the ones to have the monopoly on opinions. Reminds me of my NS days when there were stupid regulations like doing foot drills 4 periods morning and 4 periods afternoon. Just follow orders even if you know how stupid they are. No wonder we are still so compliant.

Anonymous said...

Election must be cuming. Time to Snip.Snip.Snip.:P

Thou shall bow and worship the anointed immortals or thou shall not touch the holy trinity or be burnt in purgatory.

Anonymous said...

A man lay dying and he began to yell out, "I need a priest, I need a priest!" Another man came along and asked what was wrong. The dying man said, "I need a priest to give me last rites, I'm dying" The man said, "There are no priests around here, but maybe I can help." "I'm not a religious person myself, but I have lived next to the Catholic church my whole life and I hear their ritual all the time. I think that I can say it for you." The dying man says, "Thank You." The helpful man leans close to the dying man and in a soft voice repeats the ritual as he has heard it so many times: "B-6, N-33, G-52, I-24, ..." (Bingo)

Anonymous said...

Actually the most important thing is not the views on internet but how many willing to stand as opposition candidates in elections. As long as half of the seats are walkovers and the same old faces in opposition, I don't worry at all if I were the PAP.

Furthermore no matter what still has over 60% of the votes. And even better at over 70% when an election was held during a recession (2001). So any wonder why there will be another snap election soon?

For politicians in other countries, how they wish they can be like the PAP.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer came into chambers and, looking furtively around, pulled out a wad of cash.

"Here's $50,000," he said. "I really need to win this motion!"

The judge looked appalled.

"What kind of a judge do you think I am?" he asked, angrily, his face red.

The lawyer sputtered, embarrassed.

"I ... I heard you could be bought!"

The judge calmed down a little bit.

"Son," he said, "were I to take your money, I'd be committing a gross ethical transgression!"

"I see," said the lawyer. "I guess taking a bribe is pretty unethical."

The judge looked puzzled for a moment.

"I don't think you understand. Your opponent has already paid me handsomely. Were I to take your money, it would be a conflict of interest!"

Anonymous said...

Why wait for the PAP to relax its power? Have you EVER heard of a politician who willingly gives up power? Even in democracies, elected representatives will attempt to skew things in their party's favour - until the next election.

If Singaporeans want changes, we will have to seek them. No ruler cedes any power until they have to.

Anonymous said...

you go girl!

girl power! hahahaaaa

Anonymous said...

"From way back when, my overseas visitors came to Singapore for the first time, they expected to see large life-size statues and billboards of LKY. They thought Singapore was a police state, not very different from N. Korea. They are actually not that far from the mark."


have they tried the wax museum in...hk?

Anonymous said...

Better shut up and shut down your blog!...You are being watched!

Anonymous said...

wow, looks like wayang, singapore bloody, TOC, sg politics etc and poor lucky gotto SHUT UP. stop implicating that our RIGHTEOUS GARMEN is corrupt!!!!

ahhhh...run run run

Anonymous said...

This preacher visited a home for the elderly where he met this particular lady and they had a long discussion, there was this jar of peanuts on the right stand by the old lady bed,the preacher decided that he would unscrew the top and eat a few,as they talked he kept eating, until he had ate almost all of the lady peanuts and as he prepared to leave he offered to pay the lady for her peanuts,the lady said no you don't owe me anything,the preacher kept insisting that she let him pay her, the old lady reply was, I'm through with that jar anyway,because I have licked all of the chocolate off of them.

Onlooker said...

"The best way to deal with the Internet is to make political progress and turn the Internet into a non-issue."
Agree
they should consider
FOIA esp info about which people support which policy.
Anonymity is an illusion but at least it make them aware that we have opinions about the policies they make.
If they can't genuinely express and address our concerns in parliament, the least they can do is listen (or pretend to listen) to those concerns.

wayang kulit fan said...

Vivian, your position as minister is an illusion...
.... you are just another puppet on stage for the "wayang kulit"....
....and we know who is pulling your strings !

Do you expect us to watch and enjoy the "wayang kulit"
and not make any comments ?

Anonymous said...

i tink wat they tryin to tell you is they hav all the powerful resources(who can do it better then them hehe)to "frame" you up if they want to lah

they can even watch you...sleep like someone who kena in the neigborhood you know :)

could it be possible, the gods ferbid, we may have our own varsion of "DERTY POLITIKS" hehe

Anonymous said...

"I remember that assurance he (Goh Chok Tong) gave when Chee Soon Juan decided to embark on a career in opposition politics - he said that nothing will happen to Chee ... However, we soon discovered that what "nothing" meant ...Chee ended up with "nothing" and "nothing" did happen to him." - Lucky Tan

Hahahahaha, the real Lucky Tan is back!

Anonymous said...

Watchers watching the watcher who is watching the watcher watch...the stock market??

HAHAHAAAAAAA

Anonymous said...

There was a Pope who was greatly loved by all of his followers, a man who led with gentleness, faith and wisdom. His passing was grieved by the entire world, Catholic or not.

As the Pope approached the gates of heaven it was Saint Peter who greeted him in a firm embrace.

"Welcome your holiness, your dedication and unselfishness in serving your fellow man during your life has earned you great stature in heaven. You may pass through the gates without delay and are granted free access to all parts of heaven."

"You are also granted an open door policy and may at your own discretion meet with any heavenly leader, including the Father without prior appointment."

"Is there anything which your holiness desires?"

"Well yes," the Pope replied, "I have often pondered some of the mysteries which have puzzled and confounded theologins through the ages, are there perhaps any transcripts which recorded the actual conversations between God and the prophets of old?" "I would love to see what was actually said, without the dimming of memories over time."

Saint Peter immediatly ushered the Pope to the heavenly library and explained how to retrieve the various documents. The Pope was thrilled and settled down to review the history of man's relationship with God.

Two years later a scream of anguish pierced the stacks of the library. Immediatly several of the Saints and Angels game running to the Pope's side to learn the cause of his dismay.

There they found the Pope pointing to a single word on a parchament, Repeating over and over, "There's an 'R', There's an 'R'!!!"

"Look, the word is celibrate, not celibate"!

Anonymous said...

ROTFL

Anonymous said...

MINISTER Vivian Balakrishnan,

Is our National Reserves and Central Provident Fund an illusion too?

Is the lost by Ho Ching Temasek an illusion?

Is the lost by Lee Kuan Yew GIC an illusion?

That you have sold your soul is an illusion!

Would we be able to wake up tomorrow and tell ourselves, we are not bankrupt, its only a bad dream?

Anonymous said...

Why Chee was treated so shabbily by PAP?

I followed the news reports when PAP was attacking him some 10 years back, so I will relate for those who did not follow this story.

The only accusation PAP could made on Chee was that all the bad talk PAP made about him were "fabrication". At that point, LKY, LHL & GCT filed a lawsuit against him for calling them liars. Of course there were also other aspersions cast against Chee like he cheated on taxi fare by an extra $5, that kind of thing.

Back to my original question : Why Chee was treated so shabbily by PAP?

The answer is not because Chee was such a scoundrel but he happened to dare to articulate more on sensitive but important issues than the other opposition guys. However this is but the job of a real opposition.

Because the other opposition people do not want to end up like him they have been more "circumspect" about what they say. I can understand this.

I can appreciate the need for the other opposition parties to survive, especially given what had happpened to SDP - the flight of CEC members to WP after PAP sued the CEC over what I would consider a fair political commentary about the management of GIC.

However I cannot accept that among some opposition people, they are avoiding Chee and even talking bad about him like PAP.

I can understand if man in the street talk like that under the influence of PAP's propaganda. But for the other opposition parties to talk like that, this is inexcusable.

Are they going to say they are not doing all these among themselves?

Character assasination is the way of PAP and Chee is a victim simple as that.

Running down a fellow opposition member when he is already such a victim of unfair treatment just goes to show what kind of people you actually are.

Anonymous said...

Is he trying tell us to keep quiet?

Anonymous said...

my uncle dealt with sveral gahmen extablishment. he went to this mental case and try to blow the whisper on a big time glc. silang kiasi kiasu drag drag drag the case for one whole year than come back and the mayor of that stupid feed shit say...INVESTIGATED. my uncle pissed, shoot back, what INVESTIGATED? you got go CRIME SCENE and SEE WITH OWN EYES DAMAGES OR NOT? the gutless mayor diam diam and everyone diam diam from the press karnah to the mental case.

my uncle got all the facts to whack them that's why they diam diam lah. they say, want to fight...go court lor.

fuk. go court, who own court? here court got law meh? want money got lah. bleed you got lah.

aiyah. tell you lah they coward lah. no one knows only. only know to BULLY small people. think we scare ah?

you take down your trousers lah. we take down our trousers see whose balls big lah.

want fight, dont hide behind laws lah. dont hit people pockets lah dont anyhow twist words lah look at facts lah see who run

%$#na$%b^$#e##h$%

Anonymous said...

A pastor went visiting one afternoon. He knocked on one door several times, but no one answered. He could see though the window that the television was on, so he took one of his cards, wrote "Revelations 3:20" on it and stuck it in the door. (Revelations 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will open, I will come in.)

The following Sunday, a woman handed him a card with her name and the following message: "Genesis 3:10". ("I heard thy voice and I was naked, so I hid myself.")

Anonymous said...

he is trying to tell us only he can talk.

Anonymous said...

I heard they have a very sneaky way of "investigating". They are so technologically advance, they can stick a probe up your arse without you knowing.

After that, from inside your arse, the embedded device will transmit all the fart bacterias back to them. Thereafter, they will sample( in their mouth) and process the bacterias and they think they know everything about you.

That's how they prosecute people. Calling you names like ... psychopath.

AlphavilleSG said...

Wow Lucky! Looks like the 'anonymous' spam brigade has been very active.

Is Dr V not convince that 99.99% of the internet has a different take on the governance of Singapore?

There's seems quite a lot of threats being euphemised. One say bloggers must practise self-censorship, now another said you can't hide on the internet.

Wah Lau, straight talk please! When is the election?

skeptic said...

Seriously, why can't we even talk about race or religion?

We are not the same people as the 1960s.

Parka said...

Anonymous or not, people must be able to say what they say online in offline situations also. It's one way to keep yourself on the same side of the law.

skeptic said...

To Parka,

Why should offline speech be censored as well?

People want to say these things in the offline world. But the government punishes them for saying such thing; not because they are wrong but because they are inconvenient.

Anonymous said...

New definition for Cowards:

Take money and hide behind the laws?

Anonymous said...

i can't believe a minister is openly threatening the citizens?!!!

sigh, is this the type of national "leaders" we really want? someone to lord over us???

Anonymous said...

I hope we get the correct party for the upcoming elections.

I don't want a hard life, communist, strict regime Singapore!

Anonymous said...

sounds like a lot of people talking sensitive religious jokes on your blog - not sure why?

Is this what the Malaysians call Trojan horses? May want to exercise moderation on this blog - like TOC does it.

I hate to see this blog 'infiltrated'

Anonymous said...

Who let the dogs out?

Anonymous said...

Just let the dog bark. It will quieten down once nobody bothers about it.

Anonymous said...

election has not even started and already so afraid of the cyberworld.....start to use scared tatics.....

Anonymous said...

election has not even started and already so afraid of the cyberworld.....start to use scared tatics.....

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, why can't we even talk about race or religion?"

Yes, why can't we talk about that especially there is a new race and religion called PAP ?

PAP race = Immortal being
PAP Religion = Worship of God of No Mercy aka LKY.

Anonymous said...

"Why cant we talk about race and religion?"

Because that is the politics that Malaysia based on, and also the reasons for Singapore getting kicked out of Malaysia.

The disappointment of getting kicked out of Malaysia is still ingrained in LKY's psyche, and the current generation of PAP leaders.

Thats why our govt has focused on nothing else except Economic Growth as the basis of our country.

and frankly, regardless of what you think, we do still have a large number of our population, especially the non-internet savvy group, who can easily be riled up on simple race/religion issues.

we have to face the fact that we are still not matured enough to handle such discussions without getting emotional.

tt said...

"Minister Vivian Balakrishnan : Your anonymity is an illusion..."

Here's another joker.

In any case, he didn't catch anyone yet meant that the comments were ok.

No worries!

Also, remember the Ba Chuo Mee incident?

even if the police did catch you, it didn't mean they were right. They let the guy off in the end right? and make themselves look like sh*t in the process...

skeptic said...

To Anon 7:39PM

So the reason why we can't talk about such sensitive things is not because they are wrong but because they are inconvenient.

Where do we draw the line against what is convenient and inconvenient if the government keeps changing the boundaries.

So much for the ideals of free speech. :)

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans who keep quiet now may not be able to speak out, when the PAP doctors harvest your kidneys, corneas, liver, and organs that can be sold.

Like the brightly lighted Taxi's of yester-years when fares were crazily adjusted, all Singaporean should opt out to the Organ Transplant Act NOW!!!!

This will nullify the very evil act. Doctors with zero conscience are scumbags of society, incidently we in Singapore have many of them licenced killers and protected by the Government.

Judges who operate to the whims and fancy of the $^%&%^(, lawyers who fear being struck-off and suck the blood of their victims.

Anonymous said...

Protesting in Second Life:

I am wondering if I would get sued by PAP if I protest in Second Life on political and social issues related to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

"I am wondering if I would get sued by PAP if I protest in Second Life on political and social issues related to Singapore."

Not possible, they would have to deal with the brotherhood over there.

And we all know they dont dare to mess with them.

Life is very simple. When it comes down to big fish eat small fish.