posted on Feb, 16 2012 @ 02:04 PM
All of us ATS members have come across a hoax or two in our time. A young chinese man in Singapore was arrested, and is accused of starting a hoax
claiming that a Singapore serviceman was shot and killed in a training accident at Semawang. This started to get me thinking about the risk of
starting a hoax.
SINGAPORE: A 19-year-old youth has been arrested by the police for posting an online hoax that a full-time national serviceman was shot dead
during a training accident at Sembawang.
He was arrested for an offence of Transmitting a False or Fabricated message under Sec 45(b) of the Telecommunications Act, Cap 323, a police
spokesperson said Wednesday. The youth is assisting the police investigations.
A police spokesperson said a report was lodged last Saturday and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Wednesday it had filed the police report
following an online hoax on January 27.
"MINDEF takes a very serious view of hoaxes that undermine public confidence in the Singapore Armed Forces and cause undue alarm to the public," said
Colonel Desmond Tan, MINDEF's director of public affairs in a statement on Wednesday.
The hoax was posted on January 27 on a blog called Temasek Revealed. It also appeared on a Facebook page called Temasek Review.
It is understood both sites are not associated with socio-political website Temasek Review Emeritus.
If convicted of an offence under the Telecommunications Act, he could be jailed up to three years and fined.
There are obvious hoaxes that should be punishable by law, such as bomb threats, but what exactly are the laws concerning hoaxes? What types of
hoaxes are illegal? For example, should someone faking a bigfoot or UFO sighting be at risk of possible jail time? Could someone telling a
"colorful" story on a website, and that story is proven to be untrue be charged with a crime?
In the case of the young Chinese man in Singapore the hoax involved Singapore's military. So, by that thinking could anyone that commited a hoax, or
even speculated on something without credible sources, involving military activities like we see often on websites like ATS be arrested? Something
else that I'm wondering is if someone passes on information that is a hoax, are they also responsible if they suspect it is a hoax, and don't disclose
that they suspected it is a hoax?
The main reason for bringing this to everyones attention is that while I do see hoaxes as a bad thing, this is also another way of enforcing a "police
state". It would be very easy to arrest people who pass along information that governments may not like, or are trying to hide. The govenment can
easily claim that their arrest was needed because of a threat to the govenment's or military's "credibility". For example, what if the hoax committed
by this young Chinese man was true, and the Singapore military wants to cover up the story?
Without good evidence, many news stories could be called hoaxes, and their authors arrested.
This may be something else to watch for in the near future when govenment seeks even more control over the population than they already
edit on 16-2-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)