Some of you may already be aware of the POFMA'ed Dataset that I started to track every digital communication subject to Singapore's law against 'fake news'. For a while now, I've been trying to figure out ways to expand on POFMA'ed and study other contentious issues in Singapore's internet and society.
Here are some reasons why: There's a scarcity of accessible and user-friendly data relating to many issues in Singapore's internet policy and online media — limiting public engagement in important policy debates; creating difficulties for researchers looking to study censorship and surveillance in Singapore; and giving rise to potential trust and accountability issues as Singapore rapidly adopts an increasingly digital form of governance.
Last month, I put out a call for like-minded researchers interested in collaborating. And this month, I am happy to announce that Singapore Internet Watch is the result!
Singapore Internet Watch
In brief: Singapore Internet Watch is a student-run group focusing on research at the intersection of Singapore’s internet and society. Our key focus areas include censorship, surveillance, and misinformation.
We believe in the need for open data and transparency in studying contentious issues in Singapore internet studies. As a result, we are working on three ongoing dataset projects:
- 1️⃣ POFMA'ed: The Singapore Internet Watch will be maintaining and updating the POFMA'ed Dataset.
- 2️⃣ Singapore’s Blocklist: What websites are blocked in Singapore? This dataset compiles a continually updated list of these blocked sites.
- 3️⃣ Mapping Singapore’s Use of Telegram: How has Singapore’s use and engagement with Telegram changed over time? This project aims to create as comprehensive a directory of Singapore’s Telegram channels as possible, before analysing how this engagement has evolved over time.
(More to come later on our future projects.)
Crowdsourcing Data: As our work covers contentious and evolving issues in Singapore’s internet and society, we invite citizen contributions and crowdsourced data to capture information we may have missed, such as:
- Lesser-known websites that are blocked in Singapore
- Telegram channels, particularly those covering contentious material (conspiracy theories, harassment) or political issues
If you are aware of any of these data points which are not currently included in our datasets, please reach out to us via our contact form.
If you are interested in working with us, do also reach out to us via our contact form. As a small and project-based group, we invite potential collaborators to propose a project and how they envision the collaboration would add value to it.
The Monthly Internet Round-Up
Singapore Internet Watch will also be maintaining a monthly round-up of the latest news relating to Singapore's media and politics.
Read our first newsletter to find out more about the Singapore government's recent update on its data protection efforts, Citizen Lab's identification of a spyware vendor with victims in Singapore, and more!
For more regular updates, consider following us on Twitter (@SG_Internet)!