New Singapore anti-terror law can order media blackout

Lawmakers have said the new law will be used sparingly, and that selected media outlets and journalists will be given access to the scene. (AP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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New Singapore anti-terror law can order media blackout

SINGAPORE: A new law that gives the police special powers during terrorist attacks, including widely banning journalists and members of the public from reporting on the scene, took effect in Singapore on Wednesday.
The law gives the police the power to block all communications on-site, ranging from photographs to videos, text and audio messages, for up to a month if authorities feel security operations could be compromised.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, which drafted the law, said Tuesday that the country faces a “clear and present terrorism threat, posed by home-grown radicalized individuals and foreign terrorists.”
“It is therefore important to equip the police with powers to ... respond swiftly and effectively to attacks of any scale and of varying tactics, and minimize the chances that their security operations are compromised,” the ministry said.
Individuals who flout the new law face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars ($14,891).
The ministry said the law would make the police more effective in responding to terrorist threats. It cited previous attacks in Mumbai and Paris, where live broadcasts allegedly allowed terrorists to anticipate the next move of security forces.
During the 2008 Mumbai attacks, videos of security forces preparing to storm the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel allowed gunmen to anticipate the move, it said. In the 2015 attack on a deli in Paris, a terrorist who had taken several hostages was able to watch live television broadcasts showing police preparing to enter the deli, the ministry said.
Singapore, located close to the Muslim-majority nations of Malaysia and Indonesia, with Daesh group sympathizers, has effectively checked terrorist threats.
Lawmakers have said the new law will be used sparingly, and that selected media outlets and journalists will be given access to the scene.
Rights groups fear that the new legislation would limit press freedom. “No one disputes the need for special measures in the event of a terrorist attack, but it is not the interior ministry’s job to decide what journalists can broadcast or publish,” said Daniel Bastard, who heads the Reporters Without Borders’ Asia-Pacific office.
Singapore is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in the group’s world press freedom index.


New warning to WhatsApp users after hackers strike

CITC is trying to raise awareness regarding fraudulent messages that come via WhatsApp.
Updated 22 May 2018
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New warning to WhatsApp users after hackers strike

JEDDAH: Saudi users of the popular messaging platform WhatsApp have been warned to be on their guard against hackers after a spate of cyberattacks.
“Users are advised to enable two-step verification to protect their accounts from any digital breakthroughs,” the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said.
“Also do not click on any link until you have verified the source of the link, and make sure you do not disclose your personal information and phone number to any untrusted sites.”
A large number of WhatsApp users in Saudi Arabia have recently had their accounts hacked, and in some cases have suffered financial losses as a result. “CITC tweeted this warning to raise awareness regarding many fraudulent messages through WhatsApp,” spokesman Adel Abu Haimed told Arab News.
Attached to the CITC tweet was an infograph to clarify to users how to enable two-step verification.
Many people shared their thoughts on social media about the subject.

 

Fahad @Fah2dofficial tweeted: “OMG I have a lot of important information on my WhatsApp I better get my account secured.”
Abu Hatem @abuhatem1386 said: I am so done with hacking.”
To enable two-step verification and keep your account safe, open WhatsApp Settings then select Account then two-step verification then select Enable then enter a six-digit PIN.
Upon enabling this feature, you can also optionally enter your email address. This email address will allow WhatsApp to send you a link via email to disable two-step verification in case you ever forget your six-digit PIN, and also to help safeguard your account.

Decoder

WhatsApp verification process

Two-step verification is an optional feature that adds more security to your account. When you have two-step verification enabled, any attempt to verify your phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-digit PIN that you created using this feature.