SINGAPORE - Businesses in Singapore are set to benefit from free health screenings to spot weaknesses in their Web domain, e-mail system and connectivity. This freely provided diagnostic is part of the newly unveiled Safer Cyberspace Masterplan 2020 that aims to protect Singapore's digital sphere. The national plan also outlines the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to sniff out security threats in key infrastructure, including broadband and 5G networks, and consumer devices such as webcams and Wi-Fi routers. Coordinated by the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore, the masterplan is central to Singapore's plans to lead in AI and smart nation deployments globally, and comes amid rapid digitalisation in recent months. "The pandemic accelerated the pace of change... Telecommuting, video calls, e-learning, online shopping, and digital payment surged," said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in unveiling the masterplan on Tuesday (Oct 6).
Singapore has called on global organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) to reform, so international rules are in line with cybersecurity and other key digital developments. The Asian nation also underscores the need for unified cooperation against COVID-19, which it notes has accelerated "self-defeating" sentiments worldwide including protectionism and xenophobia. Continued international cooperation was key to overcoming the impact of the pandemic as well as to rebuilding, and nations needed to build greater trust and learn from each other, said Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, in the country's national statement at the UN General Assembly's General Debate of the 75th session held Saturday. Delivered via video message, Balakrishnan said in his speech: "The world is facing a period of prolonged turmoil. The multilateral system is confronted by nationalism, xenophobia, the rejection of free trade and global economic integration, and the bifurcation of technology and supply chains. Caught by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, most businesses lacked or had inadequate security systems in place to support remote work and now have to deal with a new reality that includes a much wider attack surface and less secured user devices. "But, these threats are not new.
Singapore and Australia have formally signed off on a digital economy agreement following months of negotiation. It marks the second such pact, following a first with New Zealand and Chile, that the Singapore government has inked covering several areas of cooperation, including cross-border data flow, digital payments, and artificial intelligence (AI). The Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement was signed virtually during a videoconference Thursday between Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Simon Birmingham. Discussions between the two countries had kicked off last October before wrapping up in March, with both sides agreeing to establish a framework that facilitated "deeper cooperation" to "shape" international rules and establish interoperability between digital systems. Country's government is setting aside more than SG$500 million ($352.49
The Singapore government plans to increase its ICT spend by 30% in its fiscal 2020 to SG$3.5 billion ($2.52 billion), as it looks to fuel the adoption of digital technologies and help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs), in particular, will be able to participate in 80% of such procurement opportunities. GovTech Singapore, which oversees the public sector's ICT deployment, said it would focus its 2020 budget on five areas including the development of new digital tools to respond to COVID-19 as well as digital services that support citizens and businesses. The government's ICT expenditure also would facilitate the development of systems running on cloud and the use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and sensors within its sector. It also would be looking to drive modernisation of government ICT infrastructure, said GovTech.
Robots and drones equipped with infrared cameras could patrol holiday destinations and enforce social distancing rules under new EU plans to save the summer break. European Commission tourism proposals imaging'artificial intelligence and robotics [to] underpin public health measures', alongside infection tracing mobile apps. Automatons could appear in places like airports, beaches, resorts and restaurants to make sure that people keep at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) away from each other. On-board infrared cameras could allow the robots to measure people's temperatures from a distance and identify people with a fever that need to self-isolate. The plans come after Singapore employed a Boston Dynamics Spot robot to roam parks, broadcasting a message reminding pedestrians to keep their distance.
I appreciate policing, but not too much policing. This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry. I feel the same way about artificial intelligence. It's useful at times, but please don't ram it down my throat -- or into my ears -- as if it's a miracle cure. I'm therefore fascinated but ultimately disturbed by an experiment currently being enacted by Singapore's government.