Category Archives: 2015

Sanjeev Gupta speaking on Cyber Security

Cyber Security Seminar: Bridging Cybersecurity Skills

Friday 20 Nov 2015: Three of our ISOC.SG Exco Members were invitied to speak at the Cyber Security Seminar: Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap by Progreso Training

Topics covered were

  • The Need for Cybersecurity Skills in the Smart Nation – Benjamin Ang, Education Chair of the Internet Society Singapore Chapter
  • Cyber Security & IPv6 Security – Sanjeev Gupta, Vice Chairman of IPv6 Forum (Singapore Chapter), Communications Officer of the Internet Society Singapore Chapter
  • Standards for a Smart Nation – Indranil Mukherjee, Smart Nation Certifications / Program Chair of the Internet Society Singapore Chapter

Slides from the sessions are available below. For more details or to discuss these topics with us, please email [email protected]


ISOC.SG presents Safe Internet Workshops for Schools

As part of our educational outreach in Singapore, our members have been giving talks at schools and businesses on topics related to Safe Internet Use.


Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC BY 3.0

We are now happy to offer these workshops to interested schools and businesses on these topics

  • Staying Safe Online
  • Cyber-Bullying and Cyber-Harassment
  • Plagiarism and Copyright

Our speakers

Sanjeev Gupta

Mr Sanjeev Gupta
Vice Chairman of IPv6 Forum (Singapore Chapter)
Communications Officer, Internet Society (Singapore)

Benjamin Ang

Mr Benjamin Ang
Education Chair, Internet Society (Singapore)

For more information and to arrange for a discussion, please email [email protected]

IoT Asia 2016

IoT Asia 2016 - 800x600 pixels (rotating GIF)

30-31 March 2016, Singapore EXPO  #iotasia

Closing the Gap: From Vision to Reality

The Internet of Things is opening up a world of opportunities for everyone from connected cars to connected healthcare to smart cities and home automation. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, about 50 billion things will be connected. In short, the Internet of Things adds an entirely new dimension to transform governments, businesses and societies and advancing humanity in ways we cannot yet imagine.

Since 2014, IoT Asia has been a key industry platform for governments, industry and technology leaders to foster closer partnerships and in turn create opportunities for the public and private sectors to embrace the Internet of Things. This tradeshow will highlight key areas critical to the development and the future of Internet of Things in Asia.

Smart Cities * IoT Data Analytics* Design Applications * Wearables * Enablers *

What to expect at IoT Asia 2016?

 2,500 attendees

 80 sponsors and exhibitors

 More international Country Pavilions

 Thematic Zones for a richer attendee experience

 Live product demos

 New product launches

 Focused conference tracks on Smart Cities, IoT Data Analytics, Design Applications, Wearables and Industrial IoT

Organised by SIAA and SingEx Exhibitions, the 3rd edition of IoT Asia is an event developed by the industry, for the industry.

Online visitor pre-registration and conference registration open in late 2015. For more information, visit

Election Blogging and Social Media Workshop (Sat 29 Aug 2015)


electionbloggingThe General Election is coming to Singapore soon, and you have something to say about it!

Polling Day is (apparently) just around the corner, and you must have views about the candidates, the parties, how we can all build a better Singapore, and you have the ultimate tool to share those views: The Internet.

But what can you write / post / tweet / say / share about these issues during an election season, while staying on the “write” side of the law?

Where are the formal / informal / unspoken / official OB markers in the blogosphere?

Come to our Election Blogging and Social Media Workshop and find out from a cutting edge panel of experts listed below

Election Blogging and Social Media Workshop – How to Keep on the “Write” Side of the Law

Date: 29 Aug 2015 Saturday

Time: 9am-1pm

Venue: Drama Centre (National Library Victoria Street level 5)

This workshop is relevant to you if you are likely to do any of the following during election season:

  • Blog / Vlog
  • Post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube any social media
  • Share / comment on posts

Register here at


Dr Ang Peng Hwa, Chairman, Internet Society [profile]

Mr Benjamin Ang, Education Chair, Internet Society Singapore [profile]


On the Singapore Constitution

Mr Jack Lee, Asst Professor of Law, Singapore Management University [profile]

From a Journalism Perspective

Mr P.N. Balji, Senior Consultant for RHT Comms & Relations [profile]

Internet Society Singapore Chapter AGM 2015

AGM elects new ISOC.SG Exco

President Prof Ang Peng Hwa
Vice President Bryan Tan
Secretary Lim May-Ann
Treasurer Steven Liew
Education Chair Benjamin Ang
Programme Chair Indranil Mukherjee
Communications Officer Sanjeev Gupta
External Liaison Officer Harish Pillay
Honorary Auditors Yvonne Lim
Tay Wei Kiang
copyright end user infringement workshop

Copyright End User Infringement Workshop: A view from both sides of the fence

What happens when innocent end users are accused of copyright infringement? Are the methods of targeting infringers accurate? Are the tactics used by copyright owners ethical? How can we protect both intellectual property and innocent internet users at the same time?

Many of these questions have been raised by the controversial actions of copyright owners (in properties such as the Dallas Buyers Club film) in enforcing their rights against end users that they have accused of infringement.

All these questions and more were covered in the new workshop on Sat 11 July 2015 : “Copyright End User Infringement: a view from both sides of the fence”
The panel of experts came from the fields of technology law, intellectual property and digital forensics, including

  • Isabella Ho, Director Legal at Razer
  • Byron Xavier, Corporate and Intellectual Property attorney, Xavier & Associates LLC
  • Wong Siew Hong, Intellectual Property Litigation partner, Eldan Law LLP
  • Darren Cerasi, Director of I-Analysis, expert in Digital Forensics, eDiscovery and Data Recovery

This cross-disciplinary panel took the audience through a hypothetical case study that shows both sides of a copyright infringement case.
copyright end user infringement workshop

Seminar Information

Date and Time: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm on Sat 11  July 2015
Venue: Intelli.Asia Group, Level 3, 146 Robinson Road

Admission was Free for ISOC Members and early birds.


Internet Society lodges ethics complaint with Law Society against lawyers representing Dallas Buyers Club copyright owners

Update : Internet Society lodges ethics complaint with Law Society against lawyers representing Dallas Buyers Club copyright owners

23 June 2015, Singapore

As reported in the TODAY newspaper, the Internet Society Singapore Chapter has lodged a complaint with the Law Society against the lawyers representing the owners of the Dallas Buyers Club copyright. The lawyers had used threats of criminal proceedings to advance civil claims, thus breaching the Law Society’s ethical guidelines for lawyers.

Read more about it on TODAYOnline

Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto and Matthew McCounaughey in Dallas Buyers Club – from the TODAYOnline article

Original Post : 3 Reasons Why Dallas Buyers Club Threatening Subscribers Doesn’t Stop Piracy

May 2015, Singapore – An Opinion / Editorial by the Internet Society Singapore Chapter

The current case of Internet users being hounded for allegedly downloading the Dallas Buyers’ Club movie is an example of  a shotgun approach to legal tactics that can only backfire. We, at the Internet Society, believe that the current case presents a good chance to reflect on some developments for future improvements to the protection of intellectual property rights in a world of sharing, streaming and downloading, where innocent Internet users can continue to use the Internet without fear.

To be clear, we agree that illegal downloading of copyrighted material cannot be condoned. Such infringement deprives creators their just rewards for their creative works.  If creators are not suitably incentivized to create content for the rest of us, we would soon be left watching only videos of cute kittens and baby antics. The Dallas Buyers Club case, however, raises alarms about the threatened penalties for infringement. We advise that these tactics will not be effective for 3 reasons.



Whenever such letters demand details from multiple subscribers, the court should play a supervisory role. In Australia, a court allowed the disclosure of subscriber details but required letters to be issued under supervision of the court. In Singapore, we have a similar court process for the disclosure of subscriber details known as pre-action discovery. In a 2004 case, Justice Belinda Ang ruled that “the court had a duty to ensure that any application for pre-action discovery was not frivolous or speculative and that the applicant was not on a fishing expedition”. The courts already require a supervising solicitor to be present when injunctions or search orders are issued – to ensure that orders are properly carried out.

In a wide action such as this involving the details of a substantial number of individuals, the courts and other regulatory bodies such as the Law Society can take an active role in ensuring that this information does not fall into the wrong hands and is not wrongly exposed. This will especially protect the personal details and privacy of innocent Internet users.

Some commentators have also queried whether three days given in the letters was sufficient time for a lay person to respond, and whether lawyers were permitted to allege the commission of criminal offences or to threaten criminal proceedings. The letters viewed by members of the Internet Society had hinted at the possibility of criminal sanction as a result of sections 136(3) and 136(3A) of the Copyright Act. We hope that the Law Society will advise whether it is appropriate to do so when the letters do not present facts that show these alleged criminal offences.



From reading a sample of letters sent to subscribers, we note that the copyright owners have been unable to ascertain whether the subscriber is the person committing the acts of infringement, or whether the acts complained of were of downloading, sharing or both. The distinction is crucial.  Where the acts complained of include sharing, then the prevailing view is that Section 136(3) might come into play. However, when the act is merely downloading, the position is less clear even though it might constitute infringement.

Even more critical is the difference between a subscriber and an infringer. A subscriber of an internet service may not be an infringer; it could be his friend who was allowed to use his network on the understanding that no illegal activities were to be carried out or someone unknown who obtained access through an unsecured Wi-Fi network. There is no legal precedent to suggest that subscribers are liable merely for acts committed on their Internet accounts. In fact, it flies against the exceptions in the Electronic Transactions Act and the Copyright Act, which give exemption from civil and criminal liability to network service providers who merely provide technical means to access internet content to persons they do not have control over. The liability of intermediaries is an important concept of the Internet in properly allocating liability and it is crucial to clearly demarcate that subscribers who are not infringers should not be automatically liable for infringing acts of others.



Access to good content is one area where copyright owners need to do better. Singapore is a tiny and troublesome market for content owners because of our censorship system.  But, with the Internet reducing the costs of distribution and customization, there is no good reason for content owners to restrict distribution of contents to Singapore. If Singaporeans have easy and cheap access to premium content streamed at HD quality, few would want to consume a low-quality copy. And with the ASEAN Economic Community becoming a reality by year-end, might it not make sense to look at distributing content to all 10 markets based on the censorship standards of Singapore? Already movie studios based in Singapore have found a welcoming market in China because the Chinese felt that our censorship standards are comparable to theirs.

Internet users, especially the younger ones, are used to the idea of FREE. Free games, free chats, free contents. More effort needs to be expended to educate Internet users that content is not cheap to produce. And good quality content is even more expensive to produce. If they want to continue to enjoy access to great content, they must play their part to sustain the ecosystem that produces the contents they want.

Education is also key not only in reducing copyright infringement but also in empowering Internet users knowing their rights. Three days is insufficient to seek the necessary legal and other advice to respond. Cases like these are rare and more knowledge of legal rights could level the playing field.



Finally, the Internet Society would like to restate our stand that we fully respect and support protection of intellectual property rights. It is arguable that the Internet would not have come into being and flourish without a strong system protecting intellectual property. But the Internet is also a very powerful and fast disruptor of existing business, production and distribution models. Incumbents who are seeing their market share and profits eroded because of the Internet should not seek to hold on by using shotgun approaches to protect their turf. Instead, they will benefit the most if they embrace the innovation and disruption by taking on the competition head-on.

So, the Internet Society’s challenge to all intellectual property owners out there is this – stop spending your shareholders’ precious investment on legal actions which will not actually advance your interests but merely stifle the widespread Internet use that could build your future business. Instead, build a more solid business for the future by using the money on more research and development to better understand your customers’ needs and figure out a way to delight them using the technologies of today and the future.



Report on the Panel Discussion “Are you Charlie? Online Media, Freedom and Responsibility in Singapore”

We conducted the Panel Discussion “Are you Charlie? Online Media, Freedom and Responsibility in Singapore” on Saturday morning 21 March 2015.
The panel discussed key developments overseas like that of e-citizenship by Estonia and the recent Charlie Hebdo incident, and its implications for Singapore’s smart nation initiative, online citizenship and whether freedom should be tempered by responsibility.
Moderator: Mr Nicholas Aaron Khoo, President, Singapore Computer Society IDM Chapter; Former Blogger, CNET

Panelists: Mr Harish Pillay, President, ISOC Singapore
Mr Belmont Lay, Editor, Mothership.SG
Mr P N Balji, Editor, The Independent Singapore
Mr Mark Worthington, Managing Director, Bell Pottinger, Singapore

ISOC Seminar: Are you Charlie?  Online Media, Freedom and Responsibility in Singapore, 21 March 2015

The session began with a welcome by the President of Internet Society Singapore Chapter (Mr Harish Pillay) on the currency and relevance of the topic to the Chapter and Singapore. This was followed by an introduction by the moderator (Mr Nicholas Khoo) on issues emanating from the Charlie Hebdo incident. Key questions revolved around the role of the media, its responsibility to inform rather than to inflame and the related issue of online regulation. References were made to David Putnam’s proposition to extend Duty-of-Care to social media actors, and the practice of governments in extending defamatory laws to online citizens. Suggestions on self-regulation and community governance were posited. The moderator fielded four questions which elicited responses from the panelists. The panellists were: Mr Harish Pillay, President Internet Society Singapore Chapter; Mr P N Balji, Editor, The Independent Singapore; Mr Belmont Lay, Editor, Mothership.SG; and Mr Mark Worthington, Managing Director, Bell Potinger, Singapore. A Q&A session followed the panel discussion.

(1) The first question was on the moral right to exercise unbridled freedom of speech in the manner demonstrated by Charlie Hebdo.

Panelists were challenged to share their thoughts on freedom of speech and self-expression and if these need to be ring fenced to safeguard democracy. All panelists felt that there was a streak of Charlie in them albeit there was a need for it to be situated in the larger social consciousness of society for the common good. The internal conflict was inevitable but often the choice had to be made by the author/writer (Charlie) who bore the burden to communicate. One panelist argued that reporting in conflict zones always meant that someone on the other side took offense regardless. Media was intended to give people a voice but tragically it also paints a black and white picture of reality when it is but “50 shades of grey.”

Another argued that while every media professional aspired to exercise freedom, it did not license them to say whatever they wanted. One had to situate their freedom in the larger context of the values that their respective societies cherished. Media professionals were constantly exposed to photographs and stories which required care in communication as it could be easily misconstrued in a multi-religious and multicultural environment. As responsible editors, there is a moral obligation to inform rather than to inflame.

One panelist argued that “self-preservation” more than monetary returns would be the determining factor in choosing to publish an inflammatory story and therefore pointed in the direction of government regulation in defining individual freedom. Another panelist took a contrarian position and qualified the distinction between the freedom to speak and the right to be heard. He argued for the universality of the freedom of speech but not for the right to be heard or followed. Akin to “open-source” management, the right to exit or to ignore, he reckoned offered the best pathway for conflict resolution. He held that society should not curtail the freedom of speech because someone else does not like it, but perhaps individuals should be given the right of reply if they feel offended. Some felt that the swarm personality of the web and the information deluge online impeded a neat application of the right of reply. Even if the individual who was implicated ignored the site or a story, it would impose on society writ large. The latter would regard them as facts if these were not contested.

(2) On the question of whether online and social media required a watermark

In the first instance, one argued that media actors had imperceptible, but immense influence on society and hence moral responsibility was inherent. Social media participants, however, may not be all too cognizant of the footprint and the impact of what they publish online. People who share information online may not be entirely aware of the consequences of their actions. Opinions can take on the veneer of fact. Irresponsible statements on corporationscan wipe a billion dollars off the stock market of a company overnight. The online space was unchartered territory, and it remains unclear as to how “watermarks” can be enforced. Media freedom in the context of Singapore was a genie that has been locked up for so many years and hence the online space was expected to go berserk for a while before it stabilizes into order.

Another argued that in the absence of debate and public consultation, precedence rather than rights will define the watermarks. By way of illustration, it was common knowledge that one keeps to the left when taking the escalator on the MRT. This was a type of a watermark. However would one have the right to block a camera (with a flash light perhaps) that was impinging on his private movements in a public space? Others argued that the slow and calibrated transition of the mainstream media to the social media space in Singapore had forced an explosion of alternative channels. For a sustainable watermark to emerge, the mainstream media has to be active in this space. If the mainstream media has not moved, then the watermark that was negotiated will suffer double standards.

While panelists firmly believed that society would eventually arrive at a kind of a watermark, there were concerns that the lines of authority were also blurring. This was primarily due to a generational change as younger Singaporeans were seemingly more defiant and independent and shared a different information value system.

(3) On existing frameworks in Singapore and the need for alternatives including that of self-governance, most argued for less regulation.

The young and the restless would require some experimental space and would prefer the absence of a “big eye’’ when engaging with others online. One argued that while Mothership.SG was regulated, The Real Singapore does not get regulated. Regulated sites exercise a significant degree of self-censorship while unregulated sites have a freefall till the Sedition Act hits them. Regulation, on the whole, may not reel in the desired impact and creates a more undulated online environment.

There was a definite proposition from the panelists to step up literacy and educational efforts to inculcate responsibility online. Panelists concurred that education was the best way forward and in a short-cycle environment, this would proliferate fairly quickly, particularly among the young. Teachers and students alike should be educated to distinguish the real from the fake. Literacy must, therefore, focus on enabling readers to become more discerning of headlines of news stories and to be able to have the smarts in them. Salacious headlines even in mainstream news draw attention but seldom carried a related and relevant story. Online sharing behavior needs amends. All too often people share headline stories that they have not read. Was the consumer sufficiently clued in? Education should extend to editorial ethics as increasingly articles even in mainstream media fail to provide a balance of views.

One panelist cautioned the move towards government directed regulation as the track record of this has been repressive. He also questioned the legitimacy of self-regulation or community control as mainstream media would ignore it. There was the related issue of reversing archaic laws which were hardly applicable to the social media environment. As an antidote to regulation, another suggested a code of conduct derived from social media actors and journalists rather than laws imposed on them by an external party or organization. Citing the media environment in UK which was comparatively free, he argued that people in UK craved for more self-regulation. Albeit his key takeaway was that when the BBC introduced editorial guidelines it changed the way journalists reported stories. It was no longer what the journalist wanted but what the people wanted. Journalists had to act in the public interest and treat information as a public good.

(4) On the question of whether there was a need for a more nuanced tool like the duty of care rather than the sledgehammer approach to online governance

Some felt that a community centered approach will not work. Consensus gathering was a long drawn process which would diffuse ownership. Users, journalists, and media owners would need to subscribe equally to the rules of the game for it to succeed. It was also difficult to enforce a code of conduct on social media actors as there were no clear lines of control across territorial jurisdictions.

However, the panelists felt that it might be applicable to registered professional organizations and institutions rather than general bloggers. Panelists differed on the need and practicality of a self-imposed code of conduct. One argued that the online was as real as the onsite and a generic rule of thumb set of guidelines applied to both online citizens and journalists alike reporting a story. It would be possible if it was done consultatively, and content creators could decide on a code of conduct and influence its application. IPSO in UK for instance had taken the lead and triggered a process of change.

Another cautioned that if the government gave up its control over the media, journalists might not know how to handle their newfound freedom. This might not augur well for the society as a whole.

Q & A Session

The interaction with the participants raised several critical issues around education and regulation.  Among the proposals were to encourage undergraduates to think critically and discriminate between fact and hearsay. Education must begin in schools as the current generation are digital natives.  Online ethics must feature prominently in formal education.

One suggestion was to put students through the exercise of starting up a Wikipedia page as it would provide a humbling experience and expose online citizens to the intricacies of fact validation and subject them to community guidance. It was agreed that the democratization of ethics education online was as important as the democratization of speech on the Internet and this could be best done via Wikipedia creation exercises or campaigns.

Others felt that education at home was equally important as parents do not spend enough time with their children when they log onto the internet. There was a consensus that ethics must be taught in a wider context and not limited to the internet. Social media editors would need to promote ethical readership, as well as ethical authorship. There was also a need to arm all social media actors with the tools that will help them to participate positively on the net. Several professionals felt that the issue should not be one of law, but one of maturity and the buck should stop with the individual rather than the state.

Participants felt that community campaigns against unethical behavior could have unintended consequences. The campaign to name and shame pedophiles in the UK was a case in point. A mob went to a little clinic and dragged out the pediatrician mistaking pediatric with pedophile and had him beaten badly. Hence safety and security was jeopardized and encouraged “lone wolf” responses.

Some however felt that online ranting was a safer alternative than physical violence in the streets. Should the online space be an avenue for pent up feelings which can otherwise become far more explosive or should there be a certain degree of tolerance for misbehavior online? Most participants felt that behavior online should not be any different from offline behavior as one extends to the other, and they were connected spaces rather than distinct ones.

Related to this was the issue of imposing the Sedition Act on hate speech online.  Some argued that sharing and repeating inflammatory speech was as wrong as articulating it. Participants felt that social citizens must first be educated, but they must also be allowed to retract their statements if they were advised to do so. Disclaimers on the validity and accuracy of the information could also be posted though it should not absolve one from irresponsible behaviour. “Marketspeak” in journalism for example was a technique which could be seen as an attempt to absolve ownership.

Participants called for a more refined approach to ensure that the search for the truth was more important than the truth itself as in some cases there was no way of establishing the truth. Perhaps where issues were controversial, online citizens could seek verification rather than discuss them with facts. Online citizens need to be taught to do their own primary sourcing, and ultimately everyone could be doing the job of a journalist for themselves.

Some argued that offering differing points of view on the online space was a valuable intellectual exercise so that the truth can be better understood and rationalized, rather than regurgitated as a fact. Curtailing alternative views may obstruct the journey to the truth and hence freedom of diverse views online should be promoted albeit done in a respectful and orderly fashion. Concerns were raised on whether a counter-narrative would be perceived as anti-government. Participants felt that it was important to be pro-Singapore rather than pro-government, but cautioned the growing misperception that anti-government was good journalism. This was equally wrong.

Reference was made to Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd case. Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd was a House of Lords case in English defamation law which amplified the notion of “qualified privilege” for publication of defamatory statements in the public interest. The privilege applied to published articles not because they concern political speech but because they pertain to information of public interest which the press had a duty to inform the public about and which the public had a corresponding interest to receive such information. The case provided the Reynolds defence, which could be raised where it was clear that the journalist had a duty to publish an allegation even if it turned out to be wrong. The Defamation Act of 2013 (UK) however abolished the common law defence of Qualified Privilege, known as the ‘Reynolds defence’ and was now replaced by the defence of “Publication on matters of public interest” under the Act. Panelists qualified that the case had never been applied to citizens only to media organisations. The issue was whether there should be guidelines or code-of-conduct that govern publication on matters of public interest.

Also, participants asked about available safety nets if both education and regulation failed to deliver the intended outcomes. While there were no ready answers to the above, there was a consensus that Singapore has reached 50 years of maturity and hence citizens together with government would need to evolve mature responses to the challenges facing media and society rather being at the receiving end of government regulation. Some shared that the start of this conversation was in itself groundbreaking as it would not have happened in closed or undemocratic societies.

– Harish Pillay, President of Internet Society Singapore Chapter