Collaborative approach needed to keep peace in complex security landscape: Josephine Teo

Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo added that what happens on the Internet can disrupt the peace in the physical world.
Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo added that what happens on the Internet can disrupt the peace in the physical world.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - While national security has traditionally been focused on military and homeland security, it is no longer independent of other dimensions such as economic and energy security, Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said on Monday (May 7).

Speaking at the opening of a regional conference on national security, Mrs Teo added that what happens on the Internet can disrupt the peace in the physical world.

She raised the example of Sri Lanka where online falsehoods preyed on social faultlines, spreading and causing civil unrest earlier this year. Two people died and property, including more than 20 mosques, was damaged.

"Online falsehoods can have national security implications when they transcend boundaries and gain traction," Mrs Teo said.

To keep peace in an increasingly complex security landscape, the security sector has to work with those outside its orbit.

"The community has a role to play, to enlarge the common social space, and foster mutual understanding and trust," said Mrs Teo.

Business and technology companies can also help to boost cybersecurity and to prevent the spread of falsehoods and hate speech, she noted.

"The boundaries to national security are blurring and rapidly evolving," said Mrs Teo, referring to the conference's title. "The solutions to security challenges are not always solely security in nature."