Sunday, February 26, 2006

Singapore's tech-savvy youth learns about the Law of Unintended Consequences

OK, I admit it: I can't escape it. Half the blogosphere is publishing like madmen about the Tammy Nyp video, judging by the fact that Tammy still holds places #1, 2,3 and 5 on the Technorati search term ranking. Malaysian roadside vendors are even reselling Tammy's video for higher prices than Hollywood blockbusters.

But a lot more interesting is the picture that emerges of a youth subculture that has no problem at all with registering the most intimate details of their private lives in order to enjoy or share them later on, without realizing the danger of unauthorized access. It's a sign that developments in personal electronics outpace the awareness of its users, especially were potential consequences for their privacy are concerned.

It's not a complete coincidence that this is happening in Singapore, an affluent and technologically advanced society whose citizens also happens to be one of the least privacy aware populations on Earth. I've already heard the first cries for privacy legislation in the Merlion City-state. But this affair shows that a large-scale and long-term personal privacy awareness campaign should be the first order of business for the Government, rather than hastily issuing rules impeding innovative use of technology.

Singapore's youths, it turns out, are more entrepreneurial than their parents think. It's important to stimulate technology-inspired creativeness and entrepreneurship, rather than suppress it for fear of unintended consequences.

No comments: