back to article Singaporean minister touts internet 'kill switch' that finds kids reading net nasties and cuts 'em off ASAP

A Minister in the Singapore government has suggested the creation of an internet kill switch that would prevent minors from reading questionable material online – perhaps using ratings of content created in real time by crowdsourced contributors. "The post-COVID world will bring new challenges globally, including to us in the …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy."

    Really?

    1. marcellothearcane

      Re: "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy."

      At least he's consistent - none of the other ideas make a lot of sense either.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy."

      Crowd sourced = inaccurate and easily gamed for short periods of time by malicious actors. Wikipedia is a great demonstration of this and gets away with it only because the core wikipedians are not from the crowd and because its accuracy in the long run is what matters.

      Crowd source and real time are NOT happy bedfellows!

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy."

      He's quite correct: it could be crowdsourced. It wouldn't work and would be even worse than the alternative, probably, but it is at least a possibility.

      Wikipedia's great, but not every article has correct and up-to-date information all the time. He should know that, but based on the various other things he's talking about, I'm guessing he has more expertise in authoritarianism than in how the internet works even from a user perspective.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy."

        when crowdsource filtering becomes woke vigilante mob... who'd a thunk it?

  2. Ordinary Donkey

    Here's a radical idea,

    why not use a parent or guardian?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Here's a radical idea,

      What's that you say? Have parents actually parent?

      How 20th Century.

    2. jason_derp Silver badge

      Re: Here's a radical idea,

      Be careful what you wish for. I've seen people I'm very glad to have taken a hands-off parenting approach given the potential outcomes otherwise.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Here's a radical idea,

        In that situation the question becomes "why were they allowed to breed in the first place?".

        If you're not capable of taking care of children, don't reproduce. It's not fair on the sprog, nor on the rest of society.

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Here's a radical idea,

          Sadly a "reproduction license" is not necessary to produce offspring.

          May be sad, because we are way too many on this planet.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Here's a radical idea,

            I take it you've seen the movie "Idiocracy" ??

            I do not advocate gummint control, more like NOT control. It's just that people need to stop acting like IDIOTIC GENIUSES when it comes to maintaining a population on the planet. Smart people need to HAVE MORE KIDS. And gummints need to STOP INTIMIDATING AND INTERFERING with parents.

            I'd do it except that GUMMINT has made it NOT WORTH IT to me... so the next generation will SUFFER WITHOUT MY GENETIC MATERIAL.

            (spank your kids, let them do dangerous things as long as they know and understand the risk, and they become more resilient and independent. that's a GOOD thing, I say)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Here's a radical idea,

      come on, don't you know that government knows best for your children?

      ('scuse me while I reach for the pink liquid - even SNARKING that made me sick)

  3. jake Silver badge

    Yet another bloody idiot ...

    ... who doesn't know how the Internet works.

    Is that a mandatory requirement to become a government Minister (or local equivalent)?

    1. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

      Re: Yet another bloody idiot ...

      Apparently so. Those who wish to gain power seem to spend their lives devoted to it, to the extent that they never get a decent grounding in any particular speciality.

      Of course, those who spend their lives specialising in something seem to have no desire to rule.

      Paraphrasing Douglas Adams then, who do you get to rule, when those who want to are unsuitable to do so, and those who are capable of doing so don't want to rule?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Yet another bloody idiot ...

        "who do you get to rule, when those who want to are unsuitable to do so, and those who are capable of doing so don't want to rule?"

        Lottery.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Yet another bloody idiot ...

      Is that a mandatory requirement to become a government Minister (or local equivalent)?

      Using populist and demagogic arguments is. Those arguments haven't to be realistic, most of voters don't care.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is Singapore

    Where not flushing a toilet may get you caned.

    Potentially.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: This is Singapore

      Here in drought-stricken California, flushing might soon get you fined.

      ALL together now: If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: This is Singapore

      When the government say kill switch, they probably mean it, these guys will kill you for smoking a bifta.

  5. chuBb. Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Anyone else get that sinking feeling that this will form the basis of a "Transformative ambitious cyber economy levelling up backdoor, sidedoor, dont you open that trapdoor" policy announcement in Westminster?

  6. bazza Silver badge

    "A Minister in the Singapore government has suggested the creation of an internet kill switch that would prevent minors from reading questionable material online"

    Well, here's one that I think not too many people would disagree with. A switch that detects traffic headed off to a Zuck-controlled domain, slams open, breaking the circuit and setting off a thermite charge that reduces the switch to slag so that the circuit can never, ever be closed again.

    There's even a precedent; the company did something like that to itself the other day, didn't it? And wasn't that a refreshing spell...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Cut one off

      And another shall grow in its place.

      Though perhaps it's worth a go anyway

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Cut one off

        It's like weeding a garden. You cut off the unhealthy stuff, and yes more grows .. but it stays small.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Cut one off

          Pull weeds, don't trim them ... although removing their seed-heads (flowers) before they mature can go a long way towards long-term weed control. And of course mowing before flowering, and then applying the proper dose of glyphosate, is a good start.

          Pruning does not keep plants small, unless you are doing it constantly or very, very incorrectly ... except in some cases, like bonsai, which takes more skill than the average home gardener is willing to acquire.

      2. Robert Helpmann??
        Flame

        Re: Cut one off

        And another shall grow in its place.

        Read the classics! The solution is to apply fire to the stumps. Just sayin'.

  7. David 132 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Typical securocrat.

    "The post-COVID world will bring new challenges globally, including to us in the security arena," said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen

    Translating from political securocratese:

    "Our intelligence services have been wanting this for a while, and Covid is a convenient excuse to crowbar it onto the agenda..."

  8. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Authorisation and children

    So how does he expect to reduce the requirement to authorise his access while also quickly detecting a minor ?

    I guess with permanent face recognition ? Like a telescreen ?

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The Minister rated the chances of such a kill switch being built as low."

    Unlike ministers elsewhere who are convinced that saying they want it is all that's needed to bring it into existence.

    Perhaps he had to put somebody's wish list into the speech to keep them happy whilst personally being realistic.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    "...real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme..."

    What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    I mean it's not like the internet has a large number of arsehats with l33t d00d sk1llz to g4m3 the thing and sod-all better to do now, is it?

    1. Robert Moore
      Joke

      Re: "...real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme..."

      Finally I will become the internets "Sexiest man alive."

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "...real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme..."

        "Finally I will become the internets "Sexiest man alive.""

        More likely, your Wife will.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "...real-time crowdsourced content rating scheme..."

      I wonder what this guy's wikipedia page looks like this evening?

  11. jason_derp Silver badge

    This is the most

    "I'm old and have never bothered to understand a computer" nonsense I've heard in a while. Great job, mininster!

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge
  12. Tempest
    Thumb Down

    SINGAPORE: As much privacy as the Chinese mainland - which is none

    Our company, like numerous others, acknowledge that all communications content in Singapore are heavily monitored and censored. It is not, under any interpretation of the meaning, a "free" country. It is easily equal to China in this regard. InterNet services to commercial enterprises are only audited intermittently. Singapore also has detention without trial for up to two years. No court warrants are required to make phone taps and data interception, either.

    To circumvent these restrictions, we usually resort to encrypted communications for both data and voice. We also travel there with cellular equipment designated safe to use in China. Often these are "burner phones" which are equipped with external encryption devices.

    Satellite communications are the most secure. It should be remembered that under a program called TEMPORA, two major fiber optic cables are the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 at their Naval base in Tuas, on the Western side of Singapore. The old Kranji SIGINT listening post was closed in 1974.

    Should the Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen achieve his dream, the effects could be significant.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""We need a tool to grade any piece of information on the net in real time," he opined. "It could be crowdsourced like Wikipedia, for its accuracy.""

    The translation software must have completely screwed the pooch on that sentence. There's no way anyone who's read more than 2 Wikipedia articles would ever say such a thing.

  14. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Results of cloud sourcing

    You need only look at Twitter where the cloud sourcing let the crazies take over their algorithm to promote conspiracies.

  15. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    He seems to be fighting against basic physics. To monitor X messages you need at least X monitors, to monitor all of Singapore's population's messages in real time with human classification requires an additional population of Singapore to do it.

    1. jake Silver badge

      For those of us with a Classical education ...

      ... the quote "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" comes to mind.

      I'd apologize for getting Juvenal, but I doubt most of the commentardariat would get the joke.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: For those of us with a Classical education ...

        A good pun is much like a black swan.

        Bonus sermo fabula est rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno Satrizing satire?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021