The Online Criminal Harms Bill was passed in parliament on 5 July 2023, after its second reading. The bill follows a suite of legislation aimed at protecting the public from harms in the online space and introduces mechanisms for authorities to more effectively tackle online criminal activity.
There has been no material change between the legislation that was passed and the bill that was first read in parliament. For more information on the bill, please refer to our client alert here.
A key feature of the Online Criminal Harms Act is that it allows the government to issue directions to any online service where there is a reasonable suspicion that the service is being used to conduct criminal activity (“Government Directions“). Depending on the content and recipient, a total of five types of Government Directions may be issued under the bill:
- Stop communication direction. This requires persons who have control of the relevant material or proprietor of the online location (i.e., persons and entities who communicated online content) to stop communicating the specified online content to people in Singapore, whether by removing the relevant material, stopping the storing, posting, providing or transmitting of any online material similar to the relevant material, or disabling access to the relevant online location.
- Disabling direction. This requires online service providers (excluding internet access service or app distribution service) to disable access to specified content (e.g., a post or page) on their service to people in Singapore, including the disabling of access to such material, any identical copies of the relevant material or any relevant online location.
- Account restriction direction. This requires online service providers to disallow or restrict interaction of an account on their service from communicating with people in Singapore, whether by terminating, suspending or restricting functionalities in relation to that online account.
- 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.
- App removal direction. This requires app stores to remove an app from their Singapore storefront to stop further downloads of the app by people in Singapore.
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For further information and to discuss what this might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.
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