Friday, August 04, 2006

Is Blogging Really *That* Bad?

Hou, The Students' Notebook

Our first guest contribution to Singapore Angle, has been published. Read about it over there.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Blogger Registration Act - A Follow-Up

The report, "Bloggers don't need to register after all", was published on the The Straits Times on Friday.

A copy of the report has been uploaded, accessible above, for reasons of completeness to the debate. Apologies for the two days' delay in processing it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bloggers Anonymous - A Follow-Up

Hou, The Students' Notebook

The Straits Times has decided to do a follow-up twice - Sunday's web feature, and a follow-up debate in YOUTHink. It is reproduced here for completeness :

Let's talk about Bloggers Anonymous - YOUTHink, July 3 2006 (click to enlarge)

For some who require context, Ephraim Loy's mention of "(commenting) on a particular blog to this paper's Forum blog was hit by more than 500 comments" refers to this fisaco. He probably sees the comment box in a BBS manner, that is it can be regulated by technical restrictions.

In genenral, the letters have strongly rebuked most of the sweeping statements Mr de Souza has made in his original letter, and attempt to provide some explanation on the reasons behind anonymity. Some of the points by a few writers are a re-hash of our reply letter to ST, so I shall not repeat here.

And in the meantime, I find it...weird that even Mr Brown is under attack for using pseudonym, de Souza-style?!
"As for means testing for special school fees, we understand mr brown's disappointment as the father of an autistic child.....Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly."

Doesn't everyone already know his real name (and perhaps even where he lives)? And why the ad-hominem attack on him?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

100% Seditious, or Money Back Guaranteed

Hou, The Students' Notebook

Just as we see a local blogger getting into trouble with the law over a few Christ cartoons, one game developer in America decides to go all out to create their ultimate Christan game (article contains 5 parts).

"You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state" (from article "The Purpose Driven Life Takers", Talk to Action)

Should I dial 999 and cry to the Police that the game is Seditious and could cause anarchy by damaging the fabric of religious and racial harmony, that should be dealt with vigorously under the law?

If the Sedition Act does not discriminate, then this form of cyber-terrorism will probably never make the shores of Singapore. Surprisingly it was even talked about in The Sunday Times, but it was more about its related spyware problems. (Spy Game, Abdul Karim, July 2 2006).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

On the Blogger Registration Act

Hou, The Students' Notebook

Mr Leong writes about a hypothetical situation whereby all bloggers are required to register after an act of violence was induced by blogs, and in this case controversy will be akin to the enactment of the PATRIOT ACT after the September 11 attacks. (which is well covered elsewhere, so I shall not repeat.)

Now, instead of stopping here we consider a step further - suppose the government agrees with Mr de Sourza, and actually passes the Blogger Registration Act now. What are the possible consquences, on top of the issue of privacy?

  • Instructions Creep will occur. Most of us are familiar that the workings of the government will know that it is very likely to ask for exhaustive information before granting licenses to blog. This is assuming the government automatically grants them if they believe the information is correct and accurate, and that grounds of credentials are not considered. If they decide to include and warn you of its associated regulations, many will be too scared to even contemplate signing up for a blog.

  • There will be a loss of opinons. There are few people who blog anonymously for a very good reason, and that is those who are working within the government sector. They will face the fear of reprecussions and subject to harassment if they criticise the government's policies. Just as The Straits Times journalists have mentioned, civil servants and government employees are likely to turn into Yesmen in exchange for job security. Dissenting but useful feedback for the government to consider will simply dry up.

  • Singapore's "Nanny State" reputation will embolden. It will join the ranks of China and Cambodia in terms of Internet censorship and dismal human rights. This form of social control will be noted as a form of social control, similiar to the Chewing Gum Ban in the 90s. One may also compare the government to control blogs in Singapore similiar to Nicolae CeauČ™escu, who regulated the ownership and usage of typewriters (to control who was writing what) and the penalty of failure to register was death.

The negative implications from any invoking of a Blogger Registration Act in the forseeable future far outweights any benefits it brings (if there is any). Furthermore, most bloggers aren't anonymous. The Singapore blogosphere has the ability to be self-regulating, and to upset its ecology by introducing regulation is not only a bad idea to the blogospehere, but harmful to the country as well.

Part One : Not true to say bloggers hide under cloak of anonymity to rant against govt