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Singapore passes new cybercrime bill

July 11, 2023 Singapore Crime & Legal

Singapore government passes new bill compelling internet service providers (ISPs) and other entities to enforce against illegal gambling, and other criminal activity.

Original story by Ben Blaschke for Inside Asian Gaming

The Singapore Parliament has passed the Online Criminal Harms Act. The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs outlined ‘Government Directions’ in a press release introducing the bill. 

The statement emphasizes the loss of ‘malicious cyber activities,’ with about 33,669 scams and cyber cases reported in Singapore, with about 660 million SGD lost to scams, the bill reads.

The bill outlines specific actions that involved parties would take on reasonable suspicion of an illegal activity.

(b)   Disabling Direction. This requires online service providers to disable specified content (e.g. a post or page) on their service from the view of people in Singapore, which may include identical copies of the content.

(c)   Account Restriction Direction. This requires online service providers to stop an account on their service from communicating in Singapore and/or interacting with people in Singapore.

(d)   Access Blocking Direction. This requires internet service providers to block access to an online location such as a web domain from the view of people in Singapore.

(e)   App Removal Direction. This requires app stores to remove an app from its Singapore storefront to stop further downloads of the app by people in Singapore.

Read the full bill and its other implications here

One of the proponents of the bill, Minister Communications and Information & Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, said that the bill is a response to formulate new rules in combating online ‘harms.’

“There is growing international consensus that new rules and levers are needed to combat criminal harms online. There is also growing recognition that proactive approaches are needed to prevent such harms, and that government efforts alone will not be enough,” said Teo.

In another gaming hub in Asia, Macau has recently reported an increase of some 125% in suspicious transactions for the first half of this year, with about 73% registered from the gaming sector.

“There is no silver bullet to resolving the complexities of the online world. This Bill is calibrated to allow us to respond more effectively to online criminal harms, while enabling us to continue to enjoy the many benefits which the internet has brought us.”

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