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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Computer Virus Wanted

Computer Virus Wanted

Somewhere out there in the World Wide Web, and perhaps even in tiny Singapore, which is about the size of a large asteroid in the Asteroid Belt, and just about as significant, although its leaders seem not to realise it, is a talented computer hacker who may just relish the challenge of creating a legitimate and perfectly legal computer virus that could further the cause of democracy in Singapore.

Let us call it the Democracy Virus.

How would it work?

Very simply, like all computer viruses.

First, it would be downloaded into a reader's computer through an opened page of Singaporeans For Democracy or any other website specially chosen by its editors to carry the virus.

Then, once the Democracy Virus is in the reader's pc, it will automatically seek out the Address Book and mail itself and the Page from SFD to all contacts in the Address Book.

Once a recipient (from the first Address Book) opens his email program, he will see the Page from SFD and the virus then continues to similarly mail itself and the Page to all the contacts in his Address Book and so on ad infinitum.

In this way, within a remarkably short time, from one single reader who downloads a Page of SFD, that Page will be emailed to thousands of potential readers. Spreading just as fast as a real computer virus.

Why do we need a virus to further the cause of democracy in Singapore?

Isn't it enough to rely on readers to email 'good' letters and articles to their contacts?

Ah, here we run up against the two enduring Singaporean traits: fear and apathy.

Nobody in his right mind will risk, however small the risk, actively 'going against' the almighty Singapore Government, and even emailing an article for further dissemination can attract retribution, from loss of career and job to being investigated and kept under surveillance. These are real and well-founded fears at the back of every Singaporean's mind.

Then, there is the famous apathy. We have all been intimidated into a state of stupor, in which we go about our lives within narrow and defined boundaries, and any display of initiative, especially against the Government, is tantamount, at least to the PAP, to treason and disloyalty.

The PAP is the Government. Always will be. And the Government is the Country. Always will be. Therefore, if you are against the PAP, you are against the Government and if you are against the Government, you are against the Country. Therefore, you are a traitor and disloyal. Simple, isn't it?

Since we never had a culture and climate of true democracy, many citizens don't realise that criticisms of the PAP and the Government is the legitimate right of every Singaporean. In Singapore, we have no rights, only 'privileges' grudgingly bestowed by the Government (read PAP). For example, overseas Singaporeans have no right to vote, but some may be given the privilege of voting. Tokenism at its best. At Speakers Corner in Hong Lim Park, you may speak out, but if you so much as gather a group to hear you speak, you are guilty of illegal assembly. Tokenism again.

So in essence, that is how the Democracy Virus will work.

But some modifications are in order.

As described above, this Democracy Virus is illegal because there is no consent on the part of the reader to email the Page to his contacts in his Address Book. Also, if the virus acts without consent, readers will stop visiting SFD to avoid it.

This means that the virus must be open and not invisible. It must be transparent and known, and readers must participate willingly.

Thus, the editors of SFD will incorporate the virus into their Pages chosen and selected for this purpose, but must place options clearly defined, on each Page.

For example, in a Page carrying the virus, these options should be present:

  • This Page will automatically be emailed to all contacts in your Address Book unless you opt otherwise
  • I want to edit out some contacts in my Address Book from receiving this Page
  • I do not want to email anyone this Page

If no option is exercised, then permission is deemed to be granted, and the virus carries on its democracy work.

If the second option is clicked, then the reader's Address Book contacts are displayed whereby he can delete the ones he doesn't want the Page to be mailed to (for example, his boss or department head).

If the third option is clicked, the virus does not proceed.

Thus, this makes it all legitimate and legal and satisfies the rights of our readers.

Of course, subsequent recipients of the Page will also have these options so their rights are also safeguarded.

That was the easy part. Ideas are easy to conceive but difficult to implement.

Now, it is up to you the reader, to contact anyone with the programming skills and the right stuff, meaning the true spirit that values freedom above cowardly peace, initiative above grudging obedience, and the open, critical eye that does not choose to look the other way when the authorities are so vicious to our few democrats.

I am not very optimistic but I hope to be proven wrong, that there is someone with the skills and the spirit to write the codes for this virus and send it to SFD to further their work.

Long live democracy!