Singapore politician envisions internet kill switch that stops minors accessing unsuitable...


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A hot potato: What's an effective method of stopping minors from accessing online material unsuitable for young eyes—other than their parents monitoring them, of course? According to a Singaporean Minister, one answer is an internet kill switch combined with crowdsourced content grading.

Singapore Minister of Defense Dr. Ng Eng Hen made his tech wishes at the city-state's 2021 Defense Technology Prize, reports The Register. Among them were buildings with integrated cleaning technology that can kill viruses and bacteria, the ability to work on classified material somewhere closer to home rather than in the main office, better remote teaching, improved verification for websites, and more transparency around those who post false information online.

One of the Minister's more controversial hopes is for "real time guidance for minors who are very impressionable as they surf the net. Maybe even a warning alarm or kill switch."

As for who decides on what is and what isn't suitable material for kids, that would be crowdsourced online and in real-time, "like Wikipedia, for its accuracy," said Eng Hen, who obviously doesn't use Wikipedia very much.

"So you read about the recent example. Someone radicalized on the net, bought weapons on the net, all by himself. If you have a tool where you have a 'blinking light' that this is in-force and if he is searching for a tool for weapons on the net, a kill switch," he continued.

The Minister admitted that the possibility of an internet kill switch ever becoming a reality is pretty unlikely. "Commercial companies are struggling with it and part of the sensationalism and echo chambers drive profits and they have to make that decision between profit and social responsibility," he explained.

It was stressed that these ideas are just a list of things "we need and if onlys," meaning Singapore isn't necessarily going to implement any of them.

Last month brought news that Singapore had started testing a couple of robots, called Xavier, in areas with high foot traffic that lookout for "undesirable social behaviors," including flouting Covid-19 safety measures (such as "the congregation of more than five people"), smoking in prohibited areas, improper parking of bicycles, and illegal hawking.

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Posts: 353   +237
If most of the people in the crowd think censorship is a bad idea, then they won't rate the content accurately. So, even though I think that Wikipedia is pretty good most of the time, I still think this idea won't work.


Posts: 1,062   +1,633
Yes, the eternal problem is always who will be the censor. Personally, I dislike censorship in all of its ways.


Posts: 279   +357
Or maybe some of you people can start actually parenting your f***ing kids, just a thought since y'know they live in your home and rely on everything to live from you, may as well pay attention to what the hell they're doing sometimes, maybe point them in the right direction every once in a while or toss some advice their way, just a suggestion.


Posts: 1,310   +1,093
Unfortunately, more often than not, parenting consists of sperm donation, the breach and eventually a cell phone screen. And that's pretty much it.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,659   +7,557
I'd much rather see a kill switch that could be used against hackers and scammers. Caught one and they are killed for life. Why no 2nd change .... simple; if they were honest people they would not have done it in the first place. When you look at amount of lost revenue, stolen assets, and minimal effort being made by law enforcement, we need a more effective method that takes the politics' out of the equation. Oh yes, and in order to maintain the effectiveness, let the victim be the one that decides the "kill or no kill" verdict ..... that should be fair .....

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,203   +2,591
TechSpot Elite
Politicians are just clueless because they tend to be old and old people don't tend to understand tech as much as younger people do. I'm Gen-X and my level of technical knowledge and expertise is almost unheard of in my generation. Just imagine how little the Boomers (who tend to be the politicians in office today) understand about it. Hell, these are the people who still lament the loss of the phone book and rotary dialing.

This idea is unrealistic and would be impossible to implement the way things currently are.