Singapore task force to ensure 'healthy' surfing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 12:00am
 

Singapore's latest attempts to clean up the gutters of the information superhighway took an unsurprising step forward last week with the launch of The Cyber Wellness Task Force.


According to the Straits Times, the task force will tell Singaporeans not to send spam or visit pornographic Web sites, and to use their real names in chat rooms.


Michael Yap, the task force's chairman, said the team would also investigate the dangers of online multiplayer games such as Everquest.


'Today, we know some of the more obvious good and bad things about the Internet,' he says. 'For example, blindly believing everything you see online and surfing pornography. The problem is there are a lot of grey areas out there we do not have an adequate understanding of yet.'


Like not using your real name in a chat room.


Peace activist Eli Pariser, of Moveon.org, announced a petition against the war on Iraq last week. He claimed to have attracted within two days 550,000 e-mails of support from around the world. His aim was to deliver 750,000 signatures by the time he handed in the petition to the United Nations last night.


Mr Pariser was probably not influenced by the experience of a group of Singapore peacenicks. Democratic group The Think Centre organised a similar petition a month ago, asking Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to condemn the war. They obtained 837 signatures. But knowing Singapore's tradition of public protest, they probably felt it was a big success.


In the desperate search for ever-tackier televisual fare, an American TV station has launched Are You Hot? The Search For America's Sexiest People.


After an exhausting search (the producers said 'talent, personality and strategy were not required - just physical beauty and innate sexiness'), they picked 32 contestants who are competing for the honour of being named the sexiest man or woman in America. The producers say the show was inspired by the HotorNot.com Web site, where visitors can post up their own pictures and vote on whether posters are hot or not.


HotorNot.com inspired a rash of copycat sites, offering the chance to vote on anything from kittens to geeks. If the show is a success, it will no doubt send rival producers rushing to the Web to copy similar ideas.


Among our hopes for the first copycat show would be Rate My Boobies, Rate My Mullet, Am I Annoying? or the geeky AMI Bios or Not?, in which you guess whether a motherboard contains an American Megatrends Bios chip. But, however appropriate it may be for a TV game show, let it not be Rate My Poo.


backspace@scmp.com


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