Australia loses $41m app under contract with Accenture

Asia in brief The Australian government has scrapped an app that was meant to replace paperwork for incoming visitors to the country.

Ordered last year on a budget of A$60 million ($41 million), the Accenture-developed software worked, but was notoriously difficult to use. Worse still, passengers still had to complete a paper form to enter Australia.

Australia recently changed governments, and the new cybersecurity and home affairs minister, Clare O’Neill, was tasked with scrapping the app.

O’Neill has been in office for less than two months and has therefore been able to attribute this one squarely to the previous government.

Among other things, the app required users to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status. The requirement to do so when entering Australia has since been scrapped entirely, justified in part as a measure to ease queues at airports. – Simon Charwood

Singapore’s Anti-Disinformation Law Comes Into Force

Singapore’s Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act came into effect last week. The government presented it as an effort to prevent disinformation campaigns from foreign parties who might want to meddle in the city-state’s internal politics or incite tensions.

The law gives Singaporean authorities the ability to obtain user information from internet and social media service providers, remove content or block users altogether.

The law also requires “politically important persons” — primarily politicians — to disclose affiliations with foreign entities and donations over approximately $7,000.

Critics have argued that the law will stifle the freedom of expression and speech of scholars and foreigners, and that it is fraught with potential for abuse.

The country’s interior ministry responded that the law does not target those who are open and transparent in their comments.

More than half of Chinese associate space with tourism

Sixty percent of survey respondents in China associate space with tourism, compared to a global average of just 20 percent. This curious tidbit was revealed by British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat in a report released last week.

The 51-page report, titled “What is Space Worth to Earth” reveals global consumer attitudes towards the space industry across age and country. It covers questions such as what problems people think the industry can solve and whether they find space as a whole terrifying or exciting. It also reveals the fact that nine percent of respondents associate the industry with Star Wars.

The authors call China’s unusual enthusiasm for space tourism “a fascinating divergence” that could be explained by China’s deliberate attempts to spark interest in rides by opening up its space station (still under construction) to private citizens.

Desktop Management Taskforce adds support for Chinese chipmaker Loongson’s architecture

The Desktop Management Working Group has added support for Chinese chipmaker Loongson’s LoongArch32 and LoongArch64 architectures to its System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) reference specification.

SMBIOS provides management information through system firmware, so that motherboard and system vendors can present management information about their products. This makes devices easier to identify and manage.

The specification has long supported x86 and its derivatives, as well as the Arm architecture. Version 3.6.0 [PDF] of the specification, released in June, added support for MIPS-like architecture.

This makes it easier to manage devices that use silicon, which will help China achieve its ambition to replace Western PC technology.

Loongson trumpeted that its inclusion in the specification was likely to accelerate its relevance and adoption. – Simon Charwood

Fujitsu watches Granny fall out of bed – without cameras

Japanese multinational Fujitsu has developed technology to protect patients in hospitals and nursing facilities by estimating their body posture and predicting dangerous scenarios, such as falls.

Fujitsu explained that the technology used coarse-grained point cloud data with a 79 GHz millimeter wave sensor and applied the company’s Actlyzer AI model to the data to refine the data points and analyze human movements.

While Fujitsu claims the cameraless experience will ensure patient privacy, the technology still predicts a great deal about a person that will undoubtedly be useful for indefinite future uses of the technology.

Although trials to verify its accuracy and effectiveness have yet to begin, the company expects the product to be available in the market by the end of 2023.

Singapore and the UK sort out digital government utilities

Singapore and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding last Monday to share experiences that promote the provision of government digital services by the two countries.

Singapore’s GovTech agency and the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) have announced that they will share existing knowledge on how to build digital services while exploring new techniques for similar future projects.

The three-year deal follows the signing last month of the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA), which sets rules and standards for cross-border data flow and protection data – including situations such as international electronic payments and how to accept digital versions of commerce. freight documents.

In the past, the two countries have collaborated on data security reviews, cloud strategies and more. ®

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