Singapore: PM Lee launches mobile app 'SGSecure' in fight against terrorism

SGSecure app will provide information and guidance to the public in case of a major crisis like a terrorist attack or fire accidents.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched a new mobile app on Saturday that would allow the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to send important alerts to the public during terrorist attacks or other major emergencies.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told Channel NewsAsia that the SGSecure app is a "one-stop portal for members of the public to download useful information on counter-terrorism and to receive alerts in the event of major emergencies in Singapore."

This app is intended to develop the current mass alert capabilities like the public warning system. SGSecure app will provide information and guidance to members of the public in case of a major crisis like a terrorist attack or fire accidents.

SG Secure is a national movement which is targeted to prepare the public to deal with incidents like terrorist attacks. PM Lee unveiled the app at the official launch of the movement.

The application is available on the Google Play and iOS app stores. People can download this app and no registration is required for it.

Members of the public will be able to receive quick alerts on their mobile phones through a central messaging broadcast platform which is included in this application.

This app can also be used in the other way round. The app can also be used to send important information quickly to the emergency authorities using "point, shoot and send" function of this app.

MHA said the app can be used to call or SMS both police and SCDF if the environment is "not conducive".

The phone's GPS function can be activated by the public to allow authorities to pinpoint their location in case if they are hiding or trapped. Authorities also said all the information that will be collected through this app will be used in post-incident investigations.

The SG Secure app also includes information, videos and infographics on topics like staying safe during an emergency, identifying suspicious behaviour and improvised first-aid skills which will be useful to create awareness among the public.

MHA also added that during a major crisis, the authorities will assess the situation on whether a public alert should be sent out or not.

"Messages that would be sent include those that require the immediate attention or action of members of the public during a crisis or major incident. Worldwide, other government agencies have launched apps with similar capabilities, like the emergency broadcast capability. MHA has studied them and designed the SGSecure app to be relevant and effective in our context," it added.

Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam highlighted technology and said that it is an important area in the counter-terrorism efforts of a nation.

"In the recent attack in the US, they were able to push out a very large number of messages very quickly, so everyone received an alert," Shanmugam said.

"So technology, being able to push out alerts, either localised or in a broader area, is very important. We're working on that," he added.

Shanmugam said the government is also working with the telcos, and looking at "other technologies" which can used to develop the counter-terrorism efforts.