The emergency notification application introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been hugely unpopular with Singaporeans, managing only 50,000 downloads according to Google Play store. The figure would have been even lower as full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) were threatened to download the app or face weekend confinement.
State media Straits Times and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs however were in denial over the actual public acceptance, and even published a fake news claiming that the app was downloaded on 843,000 devices:
“However, a Sunday Times survey of 250 Singaporeans, aged 13 to 81, found that just 14 per cent have downloaded the SGSecure app – consistent with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) update that the app has been downloaded on to 843,000 devices.”
There are 531 reviews of 1-star rating, with comments slamming the SGSecure as a waste of taxes.
A major concern about the SGSecure app is privacy, as the app requires access to contact details, photos, files, camera and virtually all content in the phone to function. Singaporeans have been wary about the dictatorship’s abuse of power and the lack of an independent judiciary system when launching legal contests against the government. Privacy is not a valid mean of defense as exemplified in the Attorney-General’s charging of Lee Shengwu, who criticised the judiciary in a private post made on Facebook.
In recent years, the Singapore government has been tightening on censorship and surveillance of Singaporeans with new laws. According to the Ministry of Law, the government is discussing to implement a new law on “fake news” banning foreign news media from reporting news articles that does not favour the dictatorship.