Virtual Singapore project could be test bed for planners and plotters


Singapore: With the click of a button, Singapore’s security forces could soon use a digital version of the city-state to simulate a bomb threat at a sports stadium – and learn how to respond if there was a real attack.

Yet officials worry that “Virtual Singapore” – available soon to state agencies before an eventual public rollout – could also aid would-be terror plotters which the government says have their sights set on the wealthy island.
This is just one of many security conundrums facing developers of the 3D model that will be fed by big data and could assist in everything from urban planning to disaster mitigation in the city of 5.6 million people.
Developers and experts say the scheme is one of the most ambitious of its kind and will be watched by other cities hoping to use new technologies to improve the lives of citizens.
“This information will help our daily lives, but it could also fall in the wrong hands and create problems for Singapore,” said George Loh, director of programs at the National Research Foundation, a department in the Prime Minister’s Office which has been leading the project’s development for over three years.
“We need to think about that. We need to be two or three steps ahead,” Loh told Reuters.
He said some officials considered the system “too dangerous” because militants, for example, may try to access details like the height or view from buildings to plan sniper attacks.
Cybersecurity was also a concern after the country suffered its biggest data breach this year in which 1.5 million people including the prime minister had information stolen.
Virtual Singapore will be restricted to computers not connected to the worldwide web, so-called ‘internet separation’, when it is rolled out to government offices in the coming months. – Reuters


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