Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up
your snapshot of key legal developments in Asia
Issue 3 - Jul/Aug/Sep 2021

Singapore Introduces Proposed New Laws to Counteract Foreign Interference

The Ministry of Home Affairs ("MHA") has introduced the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill ("Bill") for first reading in Parliament on 13 September 2021. The Bill seeks to reduce the risk of acts of foreign interference by electronic communications activity through the strengthening of Singapore's ability to prevent, detect and disrupt such interference. 

MHA has noted the threat of hostile information campaigns ("HICs"), particularly through social media and communications technologies, and that Singapore is vulnerable to such attacks as a highly digitally-connected and diverse society. To counter this evolving threat, the Bill not only establishes new offences targeting the perpetrators of such attacks, but also sets out obligations on relevant parties such as those providing social media services, email or instant messaging services, internet access services, and running websites. 

In this regard, the Bill confers a wide range of powers on the Minister for Home Affairs to issue various orders on relevant parties, such as directions to investigate, expose, and counter HICs. These provisions seek to empower the Government to effectively deal with acts of foreign interference by electronic communications activities, including emails, online communications, SMS, and MMS. 

The Bill also seeks to combat the use of local proxies by foreign entities to push their agenda, imposing various obligations on Politically Significant Persons (PSPs) who are directly involved in Singapore's political processes.

For more information, click here to read our Legal Update. This Update highlights the key elements of the Bill, and in particular what social media service providers and relevant electronic service providers as well as members of the media and telecommunications industry should be aware of regarding potential obligations and restrictions. 

Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.


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