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Scheduled vital security upgrade for Temasek Review

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  • SGVoice's Avatar
    37 posts since Jan '11
    • http://www.temasekreview.com/2011/01/09/schedul…

      Scheduled vital security upgrade for Temasek Review
      January 9th, 2011 | Author: Editorial
      Dear readers,

      With GE looming around the corner and over-zealous “some agency” monitoring, we will be beefing up the security for our servers and site to offer better privacy protection for our readers and team.

      This is a necessary precaution given that Temasek Review has all along been under the radar of “some agency”.

      We are also aware through our reliable insider informant that the police have been “asking around” about the ownership of the site and its administrators which comes as no surprise to us.

      Infact, “someone” or “some agency” has even gone to the extent of sending a “Kent Yap” on a “fishing trip” to Temasek Review offering to buy our domain name for US$19,000 which of course we cannot sell since we no longer own the domain name, which has been sold to a chinese business woman.

      In any case, when we decided to play along with “Kent Yap” and countered proposed US$26,000, he disappeared from the face of the earth but we managed to trace him back to a LAN located at Singapore Fairex International Financial Systems Pte Ltd.

      Surprisingly, why would the police want to waste precious time “asking around” and “fishing” when they could have easilly contacted us through our online web form with their request and we would have gladly provided the information of the domain and site owner information, which incidentally is on public record and legally registered with the relevant agencies?

      Agencies who have worked with us in the past can attest that we have most of the time cooperated resonably with them when a formal and justifiable request is made to us.

      Lawyers from Singapore have written to us reqesting for an offending article to be taken down and we have complied, subjects in certain articles have also written to us requesting that we amend misinformation and we have also complied, even when the chinese authorities wrote to us asking us to remove articles on FaLun Gong we have also complied when our servers were in China. We could have ignored all these and moved servers but we did not.

      The editorial team of Temasek Review is not advocating our readers to break any applicable laws in their own country. In fact, we firmly believe that we should respect the laws in the respective country and this has all along been our guideline in running the site.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with us cooperating with the relevant authorities if a law has indeed been broken and the culprit should be prosecuted but we are against frivalous claims and persecutions.

      For example, if one of our readers is inciting racial discord and the relevant authority (with jurisdiction) contact us requesting for information, we will certainly obliged if a former request is made and the allegations can be substantiated and verified by our editorial board. The same applies for members of our editorial team if he/she is found to have committed any offence which in the view of our editorial team is so.

      In a nutshell, if any agency wants information from us, please be specific and justify your request with proper details, facts and we will cooperate fully (if you have jurisdiction). Basically, we will not entertain “fishing expedition” nor request from say Singapore Police for information pertaining to a Malaysian readers posting comments inciting a racial riot in Hong Kong (again, jurisdiction).

      Having said that, it is also our main concern and commitment that the privacy of our readers and team be protected to the fullest extent allowed by applicable laws.

      It is very difficult thus for our editorial team to balance this commitment to abide by applicable laws and the right to privacy of our readers that we have decided to put the privacy of our readers and editorial team above all others.

      We do not want to be caught in a catch-22 situation whereby we may be forced to decide on whether we should “sell out” one of our own (readers/contributors/editors) considering that most of our editorial team are chinese and being framed as “25er” is taboo.

      With that in mind, we have engaged the services of the same programmer who heavilly customised our wordpress theme (non-Singaporean from hong Kong) to modify our existing installation as follows:

      Sample Comment (before)
      1. The ability to log IP addresses of the readers commenting on our blog will be completely removed.

      In the past, readers commenting on our site will have their IP addresses logged against their comments which can be seen by the editors and moderators. With the modification in place, all comments posted by readers will not show their IP addresses nor will the true IP addresses be logged in the database.

      2. The ability to log IP addresses of administrative/editorial/contributors / member logins to the wordpress backend will also be removed and all existing IPs stored deleted from the database.

      3. All existing IP addresses stored in the wordpress database for all posts and comments prior to this “upgrade” will be completely deleted.

      Removal of the IP address tracking ability will not impact our ability to protect our site against malicious users as our servers are equipped with hardware firewall which will do the job more effectively and can be remotely controlled by our in-house technical.

      Additionally, our host has also been instructed to make the following implementation to our servers:

      1. Server roll to be performed randomly once a week as opposed to once a month.

      Our site is hosted on 2 servers technically and both servers are always available for serving our contents through a network load balancer.

      During a server roll, one of the active server is taken offline and reinstalled with a completely new operating system while the remaining active server will continue to serve our site’s content.

      Once the reinstallation is completed, the contents and database of the site is ported over from the active server to the reinstalled server and the process is repeated for the second server and then synced.

      Effectively, the server roll will ensure that all server logs, ie: apache, ftp, email, etc will be completely removed and written over thus safe-guarding the information (or lack-of) of our readers and team.

      A third server (not available to the public) which is connected to the two active servers via an internal secured LAN will be used solely for backing up the site.

      2. We are consulting our host on the possibility of stationing our servers behind a TOR network to further tighten security to our site.

      Administrative-wise, our team have been instructed to heavilly scrutinise each and every post to ensure that no frivalous, malicious, unlawful and unacceptable posts or comments are allowed on our site.

      Readers intending to use the word “burn”, “kill”, “remember what happened to”, etc are reminded to use it “metaphorically” to avoid unnecessary haressment by local authorities.

      All contributions and information sent to us via our online form will be deleted immediately from our IMAPI mail server once it has been dealt with. Secured POP3 access will be implemented on our mail server for our team to correspond with our readers if necessary, through a VPN setup in China, USA and Germany.

      Upon the successful “upgrading”, we then cannot be accused of withholding information or refusing to cooperate with the relevant authorities since we have no such information to cooperate with.

      If you are still reading this by now, the “upgrading” will be performed over the week and there should be no expected downtime. However, given the number of accesses to our site daily, the download speed may be affected during the server roll when only one server will be available.

      We would like to thank all of our readers for your continued support and seek your understanding during our “upgrading” period.

      All suggestion and feedback on how we can do better is of course welcome.


      Molina Han

      for Temasek Review

      P/S: My real name is Molina Liu J Y (刘嘉仪)

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