Trending Sept 2017

In this issue: An update on imaging technology with privacy implications, tech developments around the world and a quick revision on the roles of the Singapore President.


trending (3)

Action movie tech in real life

Zooming in on CCTV footage to identify a person is no longer just action movie magic. Combined with other data and crowd-sourced information, it has enabled the quick arrest of criminals, for example, after the 2013 Boston bombings. With gigapixel photography (many high-resolution images stitched into a larger composite photo), it’s possible to create immersive virtual reality scenes and mass event photos to tag yourself in. But combined with facial recognition technology, there may be sinister uses. The Russian service, FindFace, can match a face in a photo or video to personal details on Russian social networking site VK, and has been used to identify demonstrators at a Moscow anti-corruption protest. What’s more, FindFace makes VK users pay to opt out of being found. But others have also used the service to warn women filmed on hidden cameras in changing rooms. As with all technology, there are pros and cons.


Cyber developments around the world

Universal basic income is the concept of providing a guaranteed wage to cover a basic standard of living. Governments, economists and other players are studying its pros and cons with several experiments around the world.

Nuanced and thoughtful language, please, not inflammatory comments. New social media rules for public servants remind them that they can be traced through their digital footprint, even if they post anonymously or under a fake name. But some worry that several rules are “extreme”, such as a ban on sharing negative comments in private emails or clicking “like” on social media posts. The public sector union and online advocacy groups who object say it is unreasonable to discipline public servants for these actions. Read more:
The UK
UK data protection laws will soon match the European Union’s standards for data protection. Citizens will have a “right to be forgotten” and can ask that personal online data be deleted, such as photos posted when they were children. Other proposals include requiring “active consent” for processing sensitive personal data, e.g., tick-box options allowing the collection of data must be unchecked by default. The definition of personal data will also expand to include IP addresses and cookies.
In July 2017, Singtel launched the Singtel Cyber Security Experience, an interactive education portal to raise awareness of cyber security-related careers. The portal takes participants through various cyber security career paths. Through interactive, virtual scenarios, they can experience what security professionals do daily. The aim is to strengthen local cyber security talent by attracting tertiary students and mid-career professionals into the industry. The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore estimates the demand for cyber security professionals to reach 9,700 by 2021.
China’s first cyber security laws came into force in May 2017. Although welcomed as a positive milestone for the country’s personal data protection, some laws have been called “vague and exceptionally wide in scope” by risk management experts. Certain requirements, such as storing data collected in China on China-based servers instead of cloud-based servers overseas, also give local companies an edge as multinationals will face increased costs to restructure their operations.



Roles of the President

Here’s a cheat sheet on the President’s main roles.

Ceremonial Head of State
The President represents Singapore at ceremonies and international events.

Community champion
Through platforms like the President’s Challenge, the President supports social causes (e.g., volunteerism and social entrepreneurship), and charity fundraising.

Custodian of Singapore’s reserves and the Public Service
The President has discretionary powers mainly over:
1) All fiscal matters related to Singapore’s reserves
2) Key appointments in public service (e.g., the Accountant-General and Auditor-General) and Fifth Schedule* entities (e.g., CPF Board, Monetary Authority of Singapore, GIC and Temasek Holdings).

In these two areas, the President must consult with the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) to exercise these powers. If the President’s decision differs from the CPA’s, Parliament may overrule it with a majority vote of two-thirds. In other areas where the President has discretionary powers, consulting with the CPA is optional. These areas include continuing detentions under the Internal Security Act and authorising investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Read more about the Fifth Schedule in the Singapore Constitution hereTo learn more about the President's annual salary and it's various components, check out this FAQ.


learn-the-lingo (1)

HMU: “Hit me up.” It means to send a message or follow up with more information. Often used together with “DM” (direct message) or “PM” (private message). It can also mean an invitation to hang out. Example: “I have an extra Ed Sheeran concert ticket. If you want it, HMU.”

NM HBU: “Nothing much, how about you?” A cursory response to “WYD”, or “what (are) you doing?” Think of it as the text message version of “Fine, thank you” in reply to “How are you?”




what-we-love-1 (1)

Kendrick Tan
Research Engineer, A*STAR

Iron Maiden: When I first noticed this band’s creepy album artwork, I thought their songs would be full of screams, profanities, heavy drumming, messy guitar screeching and anti-religious lyrics. To my surprise, their songs are quite melodious. Some are even slow and poetic.

Meraki Yoga: I enjoy practising yoga at this boutique yoga studio. Fees might be pricey but they match the quality of their facilities and teaching. I am truly impressed with the teachers’ knowledge and dedication.

what-we-love-2 (1)

Norashikin Komari
Deputy Project Manager, LTA

The great outdoors: I enjoy climbing mountains and taking in nature’s breath-taking beauty from the top.

The Discovery Channel: Serials like How It’s MadeImpossible Engineering and Extreme Engineeringprovide really interesting insights on how things work, covering everything from ATMs and mega-bridges to skyscrapers.

    Oct 7, 2017
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