MCI's response to PQ on Regulations to Tackle Deepfake Software Used in Scam and Fraud Cases
Parliament Sitting on 5 February 2024
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
40. Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what safeguards and regulations are being put in place to tackle the issue of deepfake software being used in scam and fraud cases.
41. Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information how is the Government helping the public to better understand artificial intelligence and its capabilities to build a population grounded in technological understanding so as to combat the threat of cybercrime and deepfake content.
Artificial intelligence can be exploited for malicious purposes, including scams and fraud. Agencies such as the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore (CSA) are working closely to ensure that Singaporeans can go online safely and safeguard themselves against such online harms and threats.
Social media platforms are expected to take down scam content as soon as it is detected, and to take pre-emptive measures to detect and block possible scams, including deepfake-enabled content. The Online Criminal Harms Act (OCHA), which was passed in July 2023, allows the Government to issue directions to online platforms to prevent potential scam related accounts or content to reach Singapore users. Under OCHA, designated online service providers may also be required to implement measures (if not already taken) to proactively disrupt online scams, including those facilitated by deepfakes.
The Government is working with industry partners to strengthen our capabilities to deal with these threats. Some of these initiatives were recently addressed in the Parliamentary Motion on Building an Inclusive and Safe Digital Society. For example, the Centre for Advanced Technologies in Online Safety (CATOS) which will be launched in the first half of this year, aims to enhance industry collaboration and knowledge exchanges in deepfakes detection. The SPF is also working with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) to develop and enhance technologies to detect AI-generated audio and videos, and respond to the malicious use of deepfake technology.
To complement the Government’s efforts to build a safe and inclusive digital society, we have rolled out public education programmes on digital media and information literacy, cybersecurity, and scams. For example, the National Library Board’s (NLB) signature S.U.R.E. (Source. Understand. Research. Evaluate.) campaign, the CSA’s national cybersecurity campaign “Unseen Enemy”, and the SPF/National Crime Prevention Council (NSCPC)’s “I can ACT against scams”. The Scam Public Education Office (SPEO) was also set up in 2023 to drive anti-scam public education efforts and expand outreach.
The Government will closely monitor and continue to adjust our strategies and tools to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological landscape.