Last year, the now infamous “SG Nasi Lemak” Telegram group was brought to the public’s attention which had over 44,000 members that commonly shared unsolicited and explicit images of women. Singapore has had an alarming history regarding pedophilia as the country was found to host nearly 12 percent of websites in the region that shared such content in 2017. Despite Singapore’s strict control of online content, it may seem suprising that such activity exists.
However, one of the many difficulties in limiting the activity is removing pedophilic content itself. While websites may be shutdown, this images are difficult to remove and continue to exist online. For example, such websites may be blocked by internet service providers which results in users being unable to access the content on the website. However, using third-party platforms that are able to fetch the data, one can still see such content.
While this may seem difficult, the reality is that platforms such as Google are more than enough to access this content and with the right keywords, it is easy to find child pornography. From there, users can download such images and keep them on their own personal hard drive or share it with others interested in such content such as telegram groups resulting in this imagery being harder to erase.
The true travesty is that for those who have their photos taken and shared unwillingly, it may be quite easy for these images to be traced to their own personal life. Revenge porn websites enable users to share photos of their victims with some going as far as putting the names of those in photos.
Even if images do not contain any nudity, online predators are still keen in sharing images they find from female students in the MRT to pictures taken from their Instagram or Facebook accounts. With many users preferring to keep their accounts public, it is easy for their photos to be shared with dubious lurkers.
However, the Media Development Authority continues to block and shutdown such websites but with platforms such as Whatsapp, Telegram and other independent online forums having more users, it is difficult to stop the spread of obscene content. Nonetheless, members of the public can still be alert of suspicious individuals taking pictures of women and report them if possible.