A brave netizen wrote to People’s Action Party Member of Parliament Dr Lee Bee Wah asking her to question the Ministry of Defence’s decision to make it compulsory for all Mindef personnel to download the SG secure app, but he became worried when she asked him to provide her his address instead!
The netizen, Timothy Tan, had written this letter to Dr Lee asking her to pose some prickly questions to the Minister of Defence in Parliament. He also posted his letter to Dr Lee openly in a popular local forum.
Read his letter here.
“Dear Dr LEE Bee Wah,
Good day to you Madam.
It is with great respect and sense of urgency that I write this letter to you to seek your assistance in asking these questions of main concern in parliament.I have always respected your courage and gut to access the most important questions affecting the lives of Singaporeans to the parliament. As you know, MINDEF has recently make it compulsory for ALL MINDEF personnel to download the SG Secure app (link).
As a concerned citizen and an active contributor to NS. I have many queries which I felt is important to raise to the Minister of Defense to seek a clearer response than given in the article above.
First, I would like to ask the Minister of Defense who is going to pay for the mobile data cost and mobile device cost incurred in downloading the SG Secure app and it’s operating usage.
There are currently no mobile data plans with unlimited data that are affordable enough for NSF/NSmen. Also, we have to note that not all NSFs carry a smart phone, especially those who are from a lower income family.
By forcing NSFs to download the app before allowing them to book out or subjecting them to disciplinary actions when they did not do so will be a form of discrimination against the lower income Singaporeans.
Is the ministry going to subsidize / offset the cost of the data usage and mobile device in such cases? How much of the budget will be allocated to it?
Second, I would like to ask the Minister to disclose the vendor which develop the mobile application and the entire software engineering team involved in the design and implementation process of this application. If you have taken a look at the application, it requires permission to use the phone’s GPS / Camera and many sensitive information which can potentially pinpoint and infringe the personal lives of individuals who downloaded the mobile application. Since MINDEF personnels and therefore the entire male population who are subjected to National Service are forced to download this mobile application, it means that they are potential victims of such infringement if the data got leaked. Taking an example of the leaked America’s National Security Agency’s PRISM program, isn’t this mobile application a potential threat in itself unless the public can have a chance to validate and scrutinize those involved in the development process. I would recommend that the source code be open-sourced and put on Github just as what many large corporations like Google and Facebook has done with their applications.
Finally, I would like to ask the Minister on whether the Ministry has considered alternatives such as having a website which has a LOWER implementation costs and do not require the masses to download such a potentially threatening mobile application just to receive news feeds on security and taking photos for reporting incidents. Mobile websites can be easily access with Singpass login and does not have any problem accessing the GPS / Camera capabilities as and when required.
I sincerely implore you to ask the above questions in the next parliament sitting on 1st August 2017 given the urgency of the matter.
I will be disclosing the contents of this email on local Hardwarezone forum for transparency as well.