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Singapore to develop tools to detect deepfakes and reduce online risk

Singapore to develop tools to detect deepfakes and reduce online risk

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Singapore is developing new tools to better detect deepfakes and to counter misinformation. The tools will be designed under a new SG$20 million initiative to build a safer internet, titled "Building an inclusive and safe digital society". 

Minister for communications and information Josephine Teo revealed the initiative in Parliament on 10 January, in which she shared her concerns surrounding deepfakes, scams and other online risks. 

"Our digital way of life has exposed us to new risks. Cyber-attacks, scams and harmful content pose a growing threat to our safety and security," said Teo. "As many MPs have noted, trust in society - [which is] so crucial for normal human interactions - could be undermined." 

Don't miss: Study: AI-powered deepfakes see 1530% increased usage posing a threat to cyber security 

Teo also added that Singapore has a need to grow new capabilities to keep pace with scammers and online risks. This is especially so given the concern over the misuse of deep fakes to create compelling pictures such as a recent ad featuring the likeness of Singapore leaders' to promote crypto scams. 

In response, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR) will be launching the Center for Advanced Technologies in Online Safety (CATOS) to build robust technological capabilities that combat online harm, including misinformation and content that undermines people's well-being.

"Such capabilities may include tools and measures to detect harmful contents such as deep fakes and non-factual claims, inject watermarks or trace the origin of digital content, and empower vulnerable groups with resources to verify information they encounter online," added Teo. 

"These research efforts will also help inform new legislation or regulations that we will need for issues such as deep fakes, in which we are studying." 

The center comes under the Online Trust and Safety (OTS) Research Programme led by MCI. Running from 2023 to 2028, the OTS receives SG$20 million in funding under the Smart Nation and Digital Economy (SNDE) domain of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 programme (RIE2025). 

This is just one of the many efforts introduced by MCI in 2024. Earlier this month, the MCI released a five-part documentary web-series that aimed at chronicling the 18-month long Forward SG exercise.

Titled "Let’s Begin: The Forward SG Story", the series takes viewers on-ground and behind the scenes with Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong and members of the Cabinet who form part of the fourth generation (4G) leadership team.

In the series, viewers will see how DPM Wong and his team embarked on a year-long exercise to engage a wide range of stakeholders and Singaporeans to refresh the social compact and chart a new vision for the future of the country.

Related articles:
Study: Marketers are prioritising media and digital marketing at cybersecurity costs 
Top 5 developments in the AI space in 2023
Scammers use local actor Gurmit Singh's face in fake ad 

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