Singapore

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How might the Singapore society differ were it not for these technologies – would the society be more or less heavily regulated? Lee recommends analysing politics and society by addressing how power struggles and relations were played out in the pre-Internet era, namely the maintenance of political control via public support (2005: 74). Foucault defines ‘governmentality’ as the point of contact where the technologies of power interact with the governed. This spurs Lee to postulate that, in order to retain power in the Internet era, 'governments need to be actively involved in shaping the design as well as the societal, cultural and regulatory environment in which the Internet and other new media technologies operate' (2005: 75). One example of how the Singapore government has used technology to instil greater trust, and reinstate wavering public confidence is its online tax-filing system. The e-Filing system has been described as one of most definitive e-government projects, introduced by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) as a trust-building mechanism (Tan et al., 2005: 2). The e-filing system has been a conspicuous success for e-government. The success of the e-Filing system was unprecedented in terms of compliance, and succeeded in reversing negative public opinion at a phenomenal rate (Tan et al., 2005: 2). Srivastava and Teo explored how the Singapore government utilised their ‘citizen trust on the technology’ initiatives to promote and maintain ‘trust for e-Government’ (2005: 721). According to them, this was largely achieved by fostering measures to build institutional trust via transparency and soliciting of feedback from citizens. They attributed the huge success of Singapore’s e-government programmes... ... middle of paper ... ...s, which keep track of the users’ digital footprints and activities. Physical surveillance, in the form of trawling the Internet and hacking computers is technically feasible but fiscally unfeasible. Such measure also compromise privacy and democracy. Conversely, employing legislation to regulate and/or control the Internet has a number of advantages in terms of the ease of execution, the feasibility, and the transparency of the judicial processes (Johal, 2004: 4). However, legislature is purposely vague and the language ambiguous, allowing for flexibility of interpretation in the event of new developments (Endeshaw, 1996: 210). For example, the Internet Code of Practice that states that '(p)rohibited material is material that is objectionable on the grounds of public interest, public morality, public order, public security, national harmony' (in Johal, 2004: 5).

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