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The community hackathon, which was launched on Wednesday July 21 , is the first project by the Singapore Together Alliance for Action AfA to tackle online dangers, especially those targeted at women and girls. This initiative by the Ministry of Communications and Information's MCI is one of several Alliances for Action formed under the Singapore Together effort to get the public and private sectors involved in shaping policies, tackling challenges and seizing opportunities.
The AfA to tackle online dangers - engagement sessions on its formation started earlier this year - will take on gender-based harassment issues such as non-consensual one-to-many publication of images and personal details online, unwelcomed one-to-one interactions online ranging from sexual harassment to online grooming, and the existence of online platforms that encourage vice and harm.
The hackathon, a collaboration between MCI, DBS Bank and the Singapore judiciary, will see 40 diverse teams, comprising practising lawyers, law students, public officers, and DBS employees, trying to generate solutions over the next two months to problem issues affecting women and girls in online spaces. Ms Debbie Lam, managing director for legal, compliance and secretariat at DBS, said the issue of online dangers "is especially relevant given the unprecedented pace of digital adoption in the wake of Covid". One of the areas that hackathon participants could possibly work on is improving the practicality of the steps victims need to take to get legal action.
Mr Tan Ken Hwee, chief transformation and innovation officer for the Singapore judiciary, said at the launch that new solutions by the participants could be game-changing. Participants have to submit their proposals by Sept 17 and will pitch their ideas before a panel of judges on Oct 7. The winners will be announced on Oct Speaking at the launch, Ms Sim said: "Over the past six months, the community, industry and government have had meaningful conversations on how we can close the digital safety gap for women and girls in Singapore.
I am heartened not only by the enthusiasm of stakeholders, but also by the quality of ideas they have put forth. Noting that there is recognition that online dangers are a grave concern to society, Ms Sim added that there is a collective will to help women and girls close the digital safety gap so that they can enjoy the same degree of freedom and confidence online as they do in real life.
The AfA on online dangers will focus on enhancing the freedom and safety of women and girls online by providing assistance to victims, creating a safer space online through education, and shaping norms around responsible use of online spaces and digital devices. It will start with 48 members across the people, public and private sectors to address issues in five key clusters - public education, research, victim support, youth engagement, and volunteerism. The clusters will have specific aims ranging from developing educational resources and conducting studies to counselling and legal support and campus advocacy.
The of cases involving technology-facilitated sexual violence is on the rise, according to police statistics. There were cases in , such as involving unwanted sexual messages and non-consensual sharing of intimate images, up from 46 cases in Ms Rahayu said: "These incidents show that the Internet presents a double-edged sword, especially for women and girls.
On the one hand, it provides vital spaces for individuals to seek new knowledge and opportunities for self-expression. On the other, it is increasingly a vector for abusers. Mr Joel Lim, managing director of ZYRUP Media and a member of the AfA, said: "While this is an issue that mostly affects women and girls, I think it does not mean that only women and girls can be involved in tackling it. Men should also step forward to be allies and support women and girls.
Individuals who are interested in tackling online dangers and contributing to the alliance can indicate their interest at this website. ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles.
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Hackathon to kick off new AfA's efforts to protect women and girls from online dangers like sexual harassment