Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Facebook

The Singapore Armed Force (SAF) today (July 28) issued a directive demanding all Singaporean conscripts – both full time and reservist – to download a phone application, SGSecure, or face disciplinary actions. According to the SAF military laws, insubordination or wilful disobedience warrants a jail sentence.

The authoritarian dictatorship claimed that Singaporeans can “e-learn” from the SGSecure app. However, the app was actually a government spyware meant to track the movement of every Singaporean conscript via GPS. The app requires permission to access phone contacts, media, location, microphone and camera – which is likely used to tag and spy on conscripts.

Singaporean conscripts who are overseas will face a penalty when they return to Singapore and report to camp, if they fail to download the government spyware app. The only way to circumvent the invasion of privacy is to use a phone that does not operate on Android or Apple platform, leaving Microsoft and Blackberry phones the only 4G phones Singaporean conscripts can use without being forced to download the SGSecure app.

The Ministry of Defence claimed that the app is used for “counter-terrorism” purpose and this is only the “first phase”:

“The programme is being implemented in phases. In the first phase, MINDEF/SAF personnel are required to download the SGSecure mobile application and complete the e-learning modules embedded within. Subsequently, MINDEF/SAF personnel will be put through scenario-based community response training, to provide them with the knowledge to protect themselves and those around them in the event of a terror attack. The counter-terrorism training programme applies to all MINDEF/SAF personnel.”

There is no mention of privacy, or the extent of access the government has over an individual’s phone by the ministry. The Orwellian move is currently extremely unpopular with Singaporean men, with many lambasting the app in the comment section confirming that they were forced to install the app.

Editor’s note: Singaporeans are strongly encouraged to report the SGSecure app to Apple and Google store for invasion of privacy and infringement of human rights. Scroll down to the bottom of the app and click “Flag as inappropriate”, select “Other objection” and write “Singaporeans face military penalties if they do not download. This is infringing my right.”