The Possibility of an Inclusive Smart City: Designing for Foreign Domestic Workers

Joshua Tan argues that Singapore must consider the “Other” in the design and conceptualization of its smart districts and masterplans. He surveys smart city initiatives like Smart Nation Singapore and the Punggol Digital District, observing that there is hardly any mention of the foreign domestic workers (FDWs) that contribute to the domestic labor vital for our nation’s development. He outlines strategies to include FDWs into the discourse and technologies of “smartness” in Singapore, benefiting not only FDWs, but also the households they serve and regions from which they came.

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[Reading Group] Collective Summary #4: Tying It Up — Truth & Regulation, Privacy & Power, Smart Nation & Cyber Leadership in ASEAN

Over the past two months, the participants of SPJ’s reading group have been developing their individual article ideas, inspired by their past three policy discussions on digital technology issues, ranging from notions of governance regarding smart cities, to perspectives on trust in government and regulation of commercial technologies. During this final student-led colloquium, the participants presented and provided feedback to one another as they prepared to write their op-eds and explainers.

In the last of four collective summaries, Monica Chan takes stock of the reading group’s presentations, whose topics fell under three main themes: Truth & Regulation, Championing Inclusive Tech, and Smart Nation Aspirations.

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[Discussion Event] Data Go Where? Data Governance in Singapore

On March 25, the Singapore Policy Journal hosted its second virtual event of the Spring 2021 semester in collaboration with The Sessions from the NUS University Scholars Programme, titled “Data Go Where? Data Governance in Singapore.” The event included a short small-group pre-event discussion followed by a speaker panel featuring Quek Su Lynn (Director, Government Data Office), Yi-Ling Teo (Senior Fellow, Centre of Excellence for National Security at RSIS), and Timothy Lin (Co-Founder, Cylynx). In both the discussion and the Q&A with the speakers, a variety of ideas were discussed regarding data governance, and the participants were introduced to private and public sector perspectives of some of the challenges that consumers, companies, and the government face in a field that seems ever-growing.

Check out our summary for a peek at what was discussed, and stay tuned for our other events coming up!

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[Reading Group] Collective Summary #3: Regulating Digital Technology — Challenges & Trade-offs

The Singapore government’s rollout of SafeEntry and TraceTogether amidst COVID-19 has introduced a new wave of discourse on data security, privacy, and accountability. These conversations are also being fueled with calls for stricter regulations on Big Tech as consumers come to grips with the industry’s concentration of power and their ability to influence human behavior. In light of these ongoing developments, how should we think about the challenges and trade-offs that come with regulating digital technology?

In the third of four collective summaries following SPJ’s reading group, Jenn Hu reviews the remarks of our guest speakers, Simon Chesterman and Roland Turner. The summary details the takeaways from the group, as well the policy deep-dives conducted in group’s subsequent roundtable discussions.

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[Reading Group] Collective Summary #2: The Foundations of Trust in a Digital Society

The recent focus on TraceTogether data and the use of POFMA during the 2020 General Elections have highlighted the increasing urgency of the need for awareness of emerging digital technology issues and how they affect society. What are our roles and responsibilities as citizens? How much trust can we place in public office when it comes to the control and use of digital technology? And what are the economics and principles that inform our assessment of whether we can trust digital technology to begin with?

In the second of four collective summaries following SPJ’s reading group, Joshua Tan reviews the remarks of our guest speakers, David Eaves and Bruce Schneier. The summary details the takeaways from the group, as well the policy deep-dives conducted in group’s subsequent roundtable discussions.

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In TraceTogether We Trust: Singapore’s Challenge with Data Governance and Ethics

Sarah Anderson and Lionel Oh highlight existing gaps in Singapore’s current legislative and bureaucratic structures for managing data and digital technology. They argue that these concerns extend past any single product or incident; because of the importance of building public trust in the government’s use of digital technology, transparency, privacy, and other ethical considerations should be a fixture of technology policy. The authors also provide recommendations on how these data ethics concerns might be addressed through augmented workstreams which introduce procedures and safeguards for government technology.

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