Accidents and repressions
9. Technological cuts
Headlines about laid-off employees continued to emerge as big tech companies like Meta, Twitter and Microsoft cut thousands of jobs amid economic uncertainty. It marked an abrupt halt to the hiring frenzy of the past few years, spurred by the growth of digitalization amid the pandemic. Singapore authorities have argued that tech jobs are still widely available here due to the growth of digital services.
10. Cryptographic failures
The collapse of several cryptocurrency players has caused panic among investors. Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of now-collapsed crypto exchange FTX, made headlines in November after filing for bankruptcy in the United States and resigning from the company. Among the investors who lost millions was Singapore’s Temasek, who canceled his $377 million investment in FTX. Separately, Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon is on the run, with a $56.9 million Singapore lawsuit hanging over him for his alleged role in erasing the TerraUSD stablecoin and Luna token from his company. The downfall of these platforms underscores the failure of corporate controls and the dangers of hype on the ground.
11. WhatsApp crash
The widely used online messaging app may have been down for just a few hours in October, but the crash affected millions of users worldwide. Business users, for example, have been temporarily cut off from their customers. The outage, which is believed to have been caused by a technical error, reminds internet users to have alternative chat apps on standby in case another crash occurs, cybersecurity experts said.
12. Anti-Ransomware Working Group Reunited
Singapore has set up an inter-agency task force to help companies and large institutions deal with the growing threat of ransomware. The number of cases reported here has risen from 89 in 2020 to 137 in 2021, according to the Cyber Security Agency. In November, the task force released a plan for Singapore to counter such attacks, outlining steps businesses and the government should take to combat the scourge.
13. Repressing online harm
Singapore has doubled down on its fight against online harm, with a bill due to be launched in 2023 that will give authorities more tools to crack down on dangerous messages, such as those that advocate suicide or terrorism, or incite to racial or religious tensions. Major social media services here will have to implement measures to limit users’ exposure to harmful content, while authorities will be empowered to issue orders to remove egregious content if necessary.
14. EU vs. Big Tech
The European Union has continued its mission to rein in tech giants, which have been accused of dodging taxes, stifling competition and spreading misinformation and harm online. On December 20, Amazon agreed to make big changes to the way it uses seller data in Europe as part of a settlement of antitrust investigations that could have resulted in a hefty fine. This is the latest resolution in a series of battles between regulators and tech giants.